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Edmond Exchange, a weekly wrap-up of what's going on in Edmond, April 22

Performing arts study

City council members will consider Monday a supplemental appropriation for a needs assessment of a performing arts center near downtown. The project would be a partnership between the city and the University of Central Oklahoma.

The Capital Improvement Projects Advisory Board recommended this week spending up to $170,000 for the study. Once it is completed, the partners will split the bill, paying $85,000 each, said City Clerk Kory Atcuson.

The money would come from the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016 for capital improvements. Collection of the tax starts this month after the public safety center tax ends.

In November, the city and UCO signed a memorandum of understanding to hire a consultant to order a study of the performing arts center which was one of the projects a citizen's task force recommended to be paid with the new sales tax money. Their deal does not include constructing a center or where it would be built.

City staff has selected a consultant team of Hornbeek Blatt Architects, Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, Webb Management and Schuler Shook for the assessment.

Showbiz starting

Officials from Showbiz, a family entertainment center to be constructed west of Covell Road and Interstate 35, were in Edmond this week working to get started on the construction of the $23 million facility. Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director, said the groundbreaking may be within 30 to 45 days. The completion deadline is now set for Valentine's Day.

Downtown lighting

Edmond City Council is expected to decide Monday whether to spend $98,210 for the design and engineering services to improve the lighting in downtown.

Capital Improvement Project Advisory Board recommended the supplemental appropriation using the half-cent sales tax money approved last year for capital improvements.

Lighting upgrades were recommended in the 2014 Downtown Master Plan which stated, "It would create a stronger sense of place with the introduction of dynamic features and work to create a better defined nightlife."

City leaders have been working on lighting projects for about two years.

The project will include 44 light poles and lighting at the underpass which planners hope will be featured as the entrance to Edmond.

Time to permit chickens

Wednesday is the first day chicken owners in Edmond can purchase a permit so the birds can live inside the city limits in backyards 30,000 square feet or larger. City council members last month passed an ordinance allowing chickens and laying hens in Edmond backyards. The $25 permit may be purchased from the city clerk, 24 E First St. Anyone who lives on land zoned for agricultural purposes or is larger than five acres does not need to purchase the city permit.

Rating system

The Capital Improvement Projects Advisory Board approved this week a rating system for its members to use while determining what new projects will be recommended to the city council. The half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016 will pay for the projects.

The advisory board's job is to recommend how the new tax money is spent and on what capital improvement projects. The list of proposed projects was recommended by a citizen's task force appointed to study the sales tax.

The advisory board members came up with an evaluation criteria and weighting system for eight areas such as health, safety and environment, strategic and master plan studies, fiscal impact, public demand, economic development, synergy and other projects and partnerships, reinvestment on existing capital assets and budget plan.

If a project scores the highest on each criteria, the score would be 100.

Project planning

City staff has recommended nine capital improvement projects to be completed in the next five years. The price tag is $46 million.

One of the projects, improving Covell Road from Coltrane to Fairfax, costing $6 million, would come from a special tax approved in 2000 designated by voters for capital improvements.

The half-cent sales tax approved last year for capital improvements would pay for the remaining eight projects, according to the staff recommendations given to the Capital Improvement Projects Advisory Board this week.

The remaining projects are a partnership with Edmond Public Schools for a tennis center, $4.5 million; downtown lighting, $1.2 million; animal shelter addition, $3.5 million; relocation of fire station No. 2, $6 million; a partnership with the University of Central Oklahoma for a performing arts center assessment and concept plan, $100,000; Hafer Park ball field renovations, $3 million; new building and consolidation of city offices at the old police department site, $20 million; and acquiring land for the next community park, $2 million.

It's a fact

Edmond's Clegern Elementary School is celebrating its 85th birthday. Starting out as a one-room school house, Clegern now has an enrollment of 298 that includes two classes in every grade level. The school is named for Harry Clegern, who donated the land at 601 S Jackson St. to build the campus on what once was a peach orchard. Open house and tours will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the school.

What's happening

Edmond City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at 20 S Littler Ave.

Edmond Fine Arts Institute's Spring Sampler Evening of Art will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Oak Tree Country Club.

Need answers?

Have questions about Edmond and its road construction, the hotel and conference center, traffic, new capital improvement projects or anything else? Email your questions to dbaldwin@oklahoman.com. Edmond Exchange will find an answer.

Email Diana Baldwin at dbaldwin@oklahoman.com

Follow her on Twitter @Edmond_beat

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›

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