OKC civic life: What do police reports detail about Scissortail Park?
Initiative voting underway
Voters have returned 1,869 absentee ballots for the March 3 election to the Oklahoma County Election Board as of Friday afternoon, officials said. Oklahoma City voters are deciding on a citizens' initiative proposing a one-eighth cent sales tax dedicated to parks. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Early in-person voting at county election boards is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 29. Oklahoma City will pay an estimated $89,000 as its share of the cost for the election.
Of note: Ballots include presidential primaries and questions on county-option Sunday liquor sales. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 3.
Lost keys top park police report
Dec. 29 was a sunny, chilly Sunday in Oklahoma City. That afternoon, someone left their keys on a bench by the playground at downtown's Scissortail Park. If they are yours, you may be in luck — a good Samaritan found the keys and turned them in at Police Headquarters, where they remained in the property room last week. The mystery of the lost keys is one of six police incidents at the new MAPS 3 park since it opened Sept. 27. Here's a rundown on the others:
• Grand opening weekend, police made one arrest for public drunk on Friday night. Saturday, the bomb squad was called to examine an abandoned backpack.
• Nov. 9, a visitor reported someone smashed her car's front passenger window and took her purse with debit cards inside.
• Dec. 13, a visitor said she had been at the playground and later realized she left her purse behind. When she returned it was gone; she canceled her checks and debit cards.
- Related to this story
- Video: Scissortail Park drone footage
• Nov. 21, a park ranger reported eight juveniles harassed a maintenance crew and vandalized a pavilion, ripping two thermostats from the walls and damaging a scissor lift's wiring.
Quote of the week
"Oklahoma City's independence from the state's economy will be tested, in pursuit of modest growth, even as much of the rest of the state contracts in 2020."
— Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute in the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, in his Economic Outlook presentation last week for the Oklahoma City Council. Evans said the 2020 forecast of 0.5% growth in metro-area employment "likely hinges" on growth in areas such as scientific, technical, leisure, and health services. Growth there is necessary to offset losses in oil and gas, manufacturing and construction, he said.
By the numbers: 2020 Economic Outlook
• $85 billion: Projected Oklahoma City metro-area real gross domestic product in 2020, a 1.3% decline.
• $916.15: December 2019 average weekly earnings in Oklahoma City, up $10.54, or 1.2%, from 2018.
• 1,437,209: Metro-area population after projected gains of 0.7% in 2020 and 1.3% in 2021.
Canal lights vote set
A $625,000 upgrade is on tap to replace the Bricktown Canal lighting system implicated in a fatal accident that occurred in September 2018. Waist-high bollards installed near the water's edge will be replaced by safer, pole-mounted lights. In the 2018 accident, a bollard broke off at the base and a man, who had held it as he leaned out over the water, fell into the canal. He suffered a fatal shock when he touched exposed wires as he tried to get out. The city council votes Tuesday on the lighting upgrade contract with Wynn Construction Co. The low bid came in well below the $1.5 million estimate.
Of note: The city council agreed to pay $525,000 to settle claims over the accident.
Old city buildings to be razed
Finance Director Brent Bryant says the city expects to seek bids in about three months to demolish the post-war police headquarters and Municipal Court downtown. Both buildings have been replaced in the last few years with new facilities approved in bond elections. The police chief's 2020-21 proposed budget includes savings of $40,775 on the electric bill for the two vacant buildings. Once they are torn down, new surface parking lots will be constructed.
Mayor David Holt and seven of the eight city council members attended last week's budget workshop. Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon was on a council-sponsored trip to San Antonio to tour that city's "restoration center," a model for one of the MAPS 4 projects.
The Oklahoma City Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave.
• Feb. 26: Mayor David Holt delivers his second State of the City address at a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
Staff writer William Crum Twitter: @williamcrum firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writer Joey Stipek contributed.