The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 18, 2013

Priority for 6 parks

Group suggests best places for new playground equipment

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Parks Board has recommended six parks to take a share of the money city leaders appropriated in a previous meeting.

City commissioners already have approved $750,000 to be spent on playground equipment.

During a meeting Tuesday, board members, who advise the city on park issues, voted to give top priority to the north section of Government Springs.

“That slide’s been there since before I was born and it’s about 150 degrees this time of year,” said City Commissioner Ben Ezzell, who also sits on the Parks Board.

The board also wants the funds to be spent on Meadowlake, Glenwood, LaMesa, Exchange and Phillips Southern Heights Parks.

Assistant City Manager Joan Riley said there have been previous plans to improve Phillips.

“The hope was to put a splash pad there and new playground equipment,” she said.

Aside from making those recommendations, the board also wants Enid City Commission and city staff to join them in forums scheduled inside the parks.

“I think we need to communicate that, that these are the recommendations,” said board member Molly Helm. “But before we ordered equipment or did bids, that we would give the community a chance to put their two cents in.”

Part of the problem the public has with the city is that the community feels like they don’t get input, Helm said. There also is the contention in years past the board had with city planners.

“I think there’s a perception, and I don’t agree with it, but there’s a perception,” she said. “I’d hate to think that history’s going to be a stumbling block for us. Those of you who are in the know help us not to get hung up on it.”

Board member Mark Keefer said they have to bridge the “invisible gap” between Enid City Commission, Parks Board and staff.

“I have tried to express the fact that everybody needs to get on the same page. I think our goals are similar. It’s just there’s ego issues, there’s some bitterness of things that have happened in the past,” he said. “That crap’s got to go away and we’ve got to work for the betterment of our city.”

Members of the Parks Board also discussed whether there was a way to raise money for upkeep of the public spaces. Helm suggested a fund could be set up through Enid Community Foundation.

“You just get somebody who wants to promote it and spearhead an event, and it would be fun,” she said.