The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

December 14, 2010

Petition opposes razing Enid’s Convention Hall

ENID — Friends of Convention Hall presented Enid City Commission with a petition containing 4,000 signatures opposing destruction of the historic building.

Speaking for the group during Tuesday’s commission meeting, attorney Bryce Kennedy also announced an initiative petition calling for an election April 5, 2011, to determine criteria for the commission to use when deciding whether to destroy historic buildings in the downtown area.

“As you are aware, although the mayor and city commission are in fact the legislature for the community, state law reserves unto the people the power of the initiative in order to propose new legislation, which if approved at a public vote, can become the law in the community,” Kennedy said.

The group has 90 days to collect the 200 signatures required for calling the election. Kennedy said because they brought a petition with 4,000 signatures, getting 200 should not be hard to do.

City officials currently are looking at proposals from 12 firms to determine the future of an events center in downtown Enid. The decision also includes the fate of Convention Hall, a building dedicated to veterans of Enid.

The request for architectural firms to come up with a new downtown plan — labeled Enid Renaissance Program by the city — was a follow-up to a $20 million bond issue request voters turned down in August by a narrow margin. That money would have been matched by $20 million in city improvement funds that now have become the budget behind the current request for architectural proposals.

An events center is at the forefront of all three possible proposal outcomes projected by the city. That center could be tied to renovation of Convention Hall and Cherokee Strip Conference Center or the demolition of one or both of those buildings, according to the city’s request for proposals from architectural firms.

“It is our belief that you should strike and not consider the architectural proposals you received until compliance with the charter is assured,” Kennedy said. “We understand you are meeting (today) to consider these proposals, and we believe the proposals should be rejected until charter requirements are met.”

Kennedy was referring to a portion of the city charter he said requires the public body to review specifications before they are advertised, to allow public input before specifications are approved and the city directions are set.

The position of Friends of Convention Hall is that soliciting for architects for the project outlined in the request for proposals should be redone with adherence to section A.8.6 of the city charter. Part of that charter provision requires the sealed bids be opened by the mayor in the presence of a majority of city commissioners and be open for public inspection at least 48 hours before any award is made to any competitive bidder

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