The District

A bulldozer moves dirt as work continues at The District retail development on the southeast corner of Garriott and Cleveland.

ENID, Okla. — Commissioners decided in a close 4-3 vote to adhere to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s statewide reopening plan, which began its third phase Monday, June 1, 2020, the same day phase two of the city’s plan began.

City Manager Jerald Gilbert, who personally recommended commissioners proceed into phase three, said he had spoken to health officials and hospital administrators in Enid, who he said all agreed that plan was doable.

Under the governor’s phase three, residents are advised to avoid crowded environments and continue CDC social-distancing guidelines, or else wear a face mask. Restaurants are no longer be required to maintain 6 feet of distance between parties. Visitation to hospitals will be allowed following the plan’s guidelines. Large gatherings of more than 250 people are now allowed.

Gilbert said the city wouldn’t be having large gatherings over the coming months at Stride Bank Center; the venue’s next concert is now set for October.

City Attorney Carol Lahman, however, pointed out a town hall gathering concerning the Black Lives Matter protests set for Thursday at the center.

In response to Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell asking if the backlog of testing was worked through, Gilbert said it had and was “relatively small,” but he didn’t know the exact tally. Ezzell and Ward 4 Commissioner Jonathan Waddell both attended Tuesday’s meeting in-person, after videoconferencing the last several.

Gilbert said more testing in Garfield County is now available, coupled with less demand for it, and that the county Health Department plans to get a 15-minute testing machine.

Ward 6 Commissioner David Mason motioned to follow the governor’s plan.

“At some point our numbers continue to go down and down and down in Garfield County. At some point we’ve got to open things back up,” Mason said.

Ezzell argued his peers weren’t taking seriously enough the risk potential of another outbreak.

“We are telling the community by rolling this back further, ‘Everything’s fine!’ And that’s just not true,” he said.

He, Waddell and Ward 2 Commissioner Derwin Norwood voted against the plan. Mason, commissioners Rob Stallings and Jerry Allen, and Mayor George Pankonin voted in favor.

Movie theater deal planned

After two and a half hours in executive session, city commissioners voted unanimously to adopt Enid Regional Development Authority's recommendation to offer Apex Cinemas an incentive package for a movie theater tract in The District.

The deal, pending further contract negotiations, would donate 7.5 acres of land and provide a $3.5 million tax rebate to be paid throughout 15 years.

The 42,000-square-foot theater will have eight to 10 digital movie screens, reclining seats and expanded food options. The package also includes an additional 20,000-square-foot trampoline park by Big Air.

Located at the former Lahoma Courts site, at the southeast corner of Cleveland and Garriott, The District project also will feature Hideaway’s Pizza, Colton’s Steakhouse and a Jiffy Trip convenience store.

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Ewald is copy editor and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @oualexewald.

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