The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

December 22, 2012

City of Enid parks proposal plans were generated from public surveys conducted in 2008

(Continued)

ENID, Okla. — Financial cost minimal

Benson said the financial cost of the plan on Enid residents and shoppers would be minimal. For the ad valorem portion of the funding, Benson said the owner of a home with an assessed value of $150,000 would pay about 38 cents per week. And, he said, homeowners already are paying the ad valorem tax, so there would be no additional burden.

As for the five-year half-cent increase in sales tax, Benson said the average shopper in Enid would pay about 17 cents more per week to fund the parks plan.

And, Benson said, by dedicating separate funding for parks renovation and maintenance, the city could free up general budget funds for other infrastructure needs.

He said the city could free up as much as an additional $4 million per year to spend on street repairs if the parks plan is approved by voters.

There remain some uncertainties about specifics in the parks plan, especially for projects not delineated in the obligation bonds.

The size and scope of the water feature at 30th and Randolph is one of the largest plan aspects not yet designed, along with improvements to the trail system.

Benson said specific plans will be finalized once funding is approved by voters.

“We’re not going to design anything until we know the people will fund it,” Benson said, specifically referring to the 30th and Randolph water feature. “We’re waiting for the voters to tell us what they want so we can build it for them.”

Benson said the city will solicit input from each neighborhood about wants and needs for their neighborhood park, and from the city as a whole for the entire project.

“We want to know from each neighborhood what they want for their dollar in their neighborhood,” Benson said.

Assistant City Manager Joan Riley said projects outlined in the bond proposal already have specific amounts assigned to specific projects.

Riley said there are “some general ideas” of what parks improvement funded from the sales tax would look like, but specifics won’t be settled on until “we can bring neighborhood groups together and find out what they would like to see for their specific park.”

She said the sales tax revenue would allow the city to fund improvements not covered by the general obligation bonds.

“Basically, what it represents is things that aren’t represented in the $30 million (of bonds), such as trails and replacement of Champlin Pool.”

Champlin likely would be taken out of service and replaced by the water feature at the 30th and Randolph park, though specifics of the size and scope of the new water park have yet to be determined.

Also to be taken out of service would be South Government Springs Park, built on a long-decommissioned and settling landfill.

“We need to remove what’s there and create something that could survive on an old landfill,” Riley said.

She said the sales tax funding also would enable the city to build two new neighborhood parks, one on land already owned by the city near Prairie View Elementary School, and one at a still-unspecified location in the city’s northeast quarter.

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