By Dale Denwalt
Enid News and Eagle
At a study session Tuesday night, officials heard Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen’s proposal to relocate Harold T. Holden’s “Boomer” statue to the plaza along Independence, in front of Enid Event Center and Convention Hall.
After being moved to make way for demolition of Cherokee Strip Conference Center, “Boomer” was placed on the south side of Enid Event Center, essentially in the parking lot area. Concerns about errant traffic hitting the statue forced planners to re-evaluate its location.
If the city commission goes with Janzen’s plan, which is endorsed by Holden, it would be placed facing north in the western-most planter in the plaza.
Janzen humorously explained a reason why “Boomer,” a bronze statue of a pioneer and his horse racing to claim land in the Cherokee Strip, would now be facing north.
“We don’t want it to look like we’ve got anybody riding out of town. We’re taking it back toward downtown Enid,” he said. “That’s where the land office is.”
The planter is 20 inches high and Holden designed an additional 18-inch base. Lights would help illuminate it at night.
City engineers have planned on replacing a sewer line along Independence in front of the plaza area, which could push back Boomer’s relocation to this summer. The statue is being housed in a city workshop.
Commissioners also briefly discussed a constituent suggestion to place “Boomer” at David Allen Memorial Ballpark. Janzen said it would be a good idea, but said it is more suited for a baseball-related statue.
Several new members will serve on city boards and authorities after the commission approved their applications during their regular meeting.
• Park Board: Maggie Jackson and Mary McDonald will replace incumbents Molly Helm, who declined to be reappointed, and Hallie Caldwell.
• Metropolitan Area Planning Commission: Incumbents Cole Ream and Don Rose were retained.
• Enid Joint Recreation Triad: Keller Taylor won, earning more votes than incumbent Randy Floyd.
• Tree Board: Incumbent Nanci Moore did not apply for reappointment; Carolyn McLemore and Melissa Szymanski received nods to fill the two vacant positions.
• Enid Public Transit Authority: Pam Ballard earned more votes than incumbent William Stittsworth.
• Aviation Advisory Board: John K. Martin was confirmed to serve on the board.
During its regular meeting, the commission approved two large expenditures to support the city’s growing stormwater detention infrastructure.
Berms, excavation and drainage channel improvements will be made to the Garland North Detention Facility, located near Garland and Randolph, and the Garland Tributary Structure just south of Prairie View Elementary School. Both locations also will be laid with sod and seeded with grass.
Engineered stormwater detention helps reduce the impact of flooding by detaining massive amounts of water in low areas. The water then has time to flow through manmade channels into Boggy Creek in a general southeasterly direction out of the city.
Both items are budgeted. The contracts, won by Earth Smart Construction and SL Madison, respectively, are worth a total of $635,957.10.
City Manager Eric Benson said that while it’s not being used to hold flood water, the Garland North Detention Facility could be used as a park.
“We envision a fishing park and a dog park — neither of which are very expensive,” he said.
Commissioners also appropriated an additional $450,785.97 for completed construction and utility burial work at Enid Event Center. The final contract cost, according to the city, is $18,664,353.97.
According to the city, more than $160,000 must be spent to pay the main contractor for site grading and stabilization costs. A subcontractor had agreed to do the work but failed to perform under the contract, the city said.
Officials could take action against the subcontractor, Summit Civil Contractors LLC, to recover costs.
The city also has agreed to purchase playground equipment for La Mesa Park and a hill slide at South Meadowlake Park from its preferred vendor, Child’s Play Inc. The company is providing playground equipment for several other city parks.