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A bronze statue called Tree Frogs on Cottonwood by Tony Hochstetler was purchased by the Visual Art Commission. This is a replica of what the artwork will look like when completed and place near the Spring Creek Trail at Arcadia Lake.

A bronze statue called Tree Frogs on Cottonwood by Tony Hochstetler was purchased by the Visual Art Commission. This is a replica of what the artwork will look like when completed and place near the Spring Creek Trail at Arcadia Lake.

Art on the trail

Edmond's Visual Arts Commission approved the purchase of a bronze statue called Tree Frogs on Cottonwood that will be placed near the new three-mile Spring Creek Trail. The art — three frogs sitting on cottonwood branches — is the work of Tony Hochstetler and will cost $25,500.

The exact place where the artwork will be located has not been determined. Asphalt work is continuing on the trail that winds from Interstate 35 to Spring Creek Park at Arcadia Lake. The trail will cost $2.9 million and is being paid for by Edmond taxpayers. The Arcadia Lake Trail Coalition is collecting donations to construct an 18-mile trail around the lake. The estimated cost is $1 million per mile. To donate, go to www.arcadialaketrail.com.

Fire chief offer made

City Manager Larry Stevens this week said he has made an offer to one of the four finalists that were interviewed to be Edmond's new fire chief.

"We always do a formal outside background investigation for all of the upper management positions, and that investigation is now being conducted," Stevens said. "The offer is conditional until that investigation is completed."

The city manager expects to have the results of the investigation in the next week to 10 days.

"I would anticipate being able to finalize the offer at that time," Stevens said.

Over 70 people, several from different states, applied for the job left vacant with the March retirement of Fire Chief Doug Hall, who left after 27 years with the department.

The 10-member focus group, composed of five people from the community and five staff members, has been helping the city manager with the search for a new chief.

Beating the deadline

Edmond's new $37 million hotel and conference center, being constructed near Covell Road and Interstate 35, continues to be ahead of schedule. City Manager Larry Stevens said the project will be "substantially complete in September, and an opening is possible in November." The exterior finishes are near completion and work is continuing on the parking area, with curb and gutter concrete work to begin soon, he said. Inside the building the drywall work has started on each floor and the painting contractor has started the prep work on the top floor.

Cost debate continues

Developer Mark Ruffin wants Edmond's bus service to make only two stops a day at the Social Security office, located in a building he constructed in Oklahoma City.

Since 2013, an Edmond Citylink bus has stopped at the Oklahoma City office because Ruffin and his partner, Nick Preftakes, said a federal regulation required public transportation to serve the Social Security office.

City officials said Ruffin told them that requirement is no longer a regulation.

The bus now stops three times a day at the Social Security office on the northwest corner of NE 122 and Kelley Avenue. City officials recalculated the cost of the route and told Ruffin it would cost $64,646 for the next fiscal year, that is an increase from $26,020.

In 2013, Ruffin paid the city $63,000 to provide the Social Security office with public transportation after failing to come up with a deal with Oklahoma City's bus system.

Ruffin's request for two stops a day will now go to the transportation committee for a recommendation and to the city council for a final answer.

Sales tax

Edmond's last sales tax collection check leaves the city 1.35 percent below budget projections for this fiscal year.

"While this is not where we wanted to be, it is important to remember that Edmond remains very fortunate compared to most other cities in the metro area," said City Manager Larry Stevens.

This year's budget did not include any growth for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The city received just over $62.9 million for the 3.75 percent sales tax collected in Edmond. That is $859,096 less than what was collected the previous year.

The June check, for sales the last two weeks of April and the first half of May, was up 3.8 percent, compared to a year ago.

The June check was almost $5.3 million.

"That is an encouraging increase," Stevens said. "That is good news."

It's a fact

Edmond's LibertyFest was selected as one of the top 10 places to be in America on July Fourth by CNN and USA Today. LibertyFest entertains an attendance of over 125,000 annually and is organized and produced by a group of over 500 volunteers. Events start June 24 and continue through July 4.

What's happening

Edmond Planning Commission is meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 20 S Littler Ave.

Citizens Bank of Edmond's Heard on Hurd starts at 6 p.m. and continues through 10 p.m. in downtown Edmond.

Need answers?

Reader Brandon Baker asked: "Is there any update on when the Zaxby's in Edmond will begin construction? You had mentioned in an Edmond Exchange article in February that they were coming to Edmond, but the location shows nothing happening."

City Planner Randy Entz answered: "Zaxby's representatives have had pre-application meetings with city staff, but have not filed an application for site plan approval to date."

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.

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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