The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Election 2013

January 21, 2013

Ward 3 commission candidates share goals

(Continued)

ENID, Okla. — Enid Renaissance Project

In 2010, Enid voters rejected by a vote of 4,023-3,892 a $20 million bond issue for the Gateway Enid project. The city had committed to add an additional $20 million to the project.

The city opted in 2011 to go ahead with renovation of Convention Hall and construction of the new Enid Event Center, with the “brick-and-mortar” expenses to be covered by the city’s $20 million share of the original Gateway plan.

Convention Hall was reopened to the public in November after a completion of a more than $7 million renovation contract. Enid Event Center is nearing completion, with a contract and change orders that now have topped $18 million.

Question: What are your thoughts on the renovation of Convention Hall and construction of Enid Event Center? Is Enid Renaissance Project a good investment for the city of Enid and its residents?

Ezzell

“We don’t know yet if it’s a good investment,” Ezzell said. “I voted for it when it lost, and I would have liked to have seen that dedicated funding source go through, because I think investment is a good thing for our community.”

Ezzell said the renovation of Convention Hall “is gorgeous,” and he hopes the total Renaissance package turns out to have a positive economic impact for the city.

“I want it to turn out well, and I want it to be a great deal for the city, but we don’t know yet how that will turn out,” he said.

Ezzell said the manner in which the city transitioned from Gateway to Renaissance could have been handled better.

“There was a lack of communication between the city and the people, and I think that was a failure with that project,” Ezzell said.

Stephens

Stephens said he agreed with, and voted for, the original Gateway plan, but he disagrees with the way the city implemented Renaissance.

“Originally, I was a supporter of Renaissance and revamping Convention Hall, but when it didn’t pass, the city lost a lot of credibility by going ahead and pursuing it,” Stephens said. “I think there is value to it. But, I think when the voters turned it down and they went ahead with it, to the regular citizen, that perception brought a lot of distrust towards city government as a whole.”

Text Only
Election 2013