The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 3, 2013

City OKs holding back construction funds for art

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Public construction in Enid soon will require a percentage of the project be held back for artwork, following a vote by city leaders Tuesday.

The Enid City Commission unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow them to set aside up to 1 percent of a “major city construction project” for public art, which could be a sculpture, mural or other artistic piece.

A major project is defined as one being $250,000 or more.

The artwork will be pitched by the artist and selected by a seven-member panel known as the Visual Arts Commission. One member of the city commission, and six others picked by the city will serve on the VAC.

There is an option to add three additional non-voting members, with one being an Enid youth. A term on the VAC will last three years.

Any artwork would have to be judged based on compatibility, appropriateness to the surroundings, a sense of order, preservation and integration of natural features, appropriateness to the project and representation of a broad variety of tastes within the community.

“If it’s not (appropriate), say, there can be major construction at the landfill where nobody would really see it, then it would be placed someplace else,” said Whitney Box, director of strategic and long-range planning. “It doesn’t require that it be on site.”

The original ordinance would have had just five voting members, but Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen recommended more.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in this,” he said.

Pole painting

Commissioners also approved a contract to S. Crow Painting Inc. to re-paint 48 traffic signal poles in the downtown area that are peeling.

The bid for $91,891 stipulates that the painters will only work at night to avoid disrupting traffic and business in the downtown area. Also, painting cannot be done with temperatures below 50 degrees, so the expected completion date is June 1, 2014.

Each signal pole must be taken down and disassembled before painting, meaning there may only be one per night completed.

“We have a lot of businesses sprucing up downtown,” said Mayor Bill Shewey. “We have to do our part.”

Other business

Forgotten Ministries won a rezoning bid that will allow them to place a warehouse on a piece of land across from the New View apartment complex at 1714 S. 4th.

The ministry will be soliciting businesses and the community for leftover construction materials so they can renovate the apartments. Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell recused himself from the vote because his firm represents the ministry.

Commissioners then approved a contract with Luckinbill Inc. for a Water Reclamation Facility sludge building modification. The contract has them installing two pumps, control panels and piping. The contract is worth $124,500.

The following agenda items were approved:

• Amendments for engineering fees related to the Southgate Road realignment project, allowing for the extension of a runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

• Award of a $783,525 contract to Cummins Construction Co., Inc., for construction of the realigned Southgate Road. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will cover $500,000 of that cost.

• An ordinance eliminating commission approval of taxi rate changes.

Commissioners also heard from city engineers about the current state of the trails program. The main four projects under way include installing a signal light at Van Buren, extending the trail from Oakwood to Garland, extending it from Rupe to Meadowlake Park and from Frantz to the downtown area.

Project Manager Murali Katta-Muddanna said that an Oklahoma Department of Transportation survey revealed that a crossing signal at Van Buren is warranted.

The expectation is at least 20 pedestrians crossing the highway during an hour with at least 1,000 cars passing by.

Design work is under way and the signal could be finished this spring.