Build a Better Broken Arrow Committee Endorses the 2014 GO Bond Package
CITY IMPROVEMENTS: Russell Peterson, president of the Build a Better Broken Arrow Committee, stands in the Rose District, which will receive a portion of the funds from the General Obligation (GO) Bond proposal if approved when it goes before voters on Aug. 26.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Long-time community leader Russell Peterson and the citizen’s group that he founded to advocate for a higher quality of life in Broken Arrow have come out in favor for the city’s 2014 General Obligation (GO) Bond proposal that goes before voters on Aug. 26.
The Build a Better Broken Arrow Committee, on which Peterson serves as president, calls the package “a well thought out array of undertakings that position the city for future growth.” As has been true in previous elections, they all come without an increase in ad valorem tax rates,” he says.
A total of $60 million in new GO Bond projects and a repurposing of $7 million in previously authorized bond projects includes:
Headed by the construction of 37th Street from Omaha Street to Albany Street, widening Florence Street from Olive to Aspen Avenue, and widening Lynn Lane from Houston Avenue to north of Elgin Street, this comprehensive to-do list includes 20 different undertakings, each designed to make getting around the most traveled parts of town quicker, easier and safer.
Quality of Life: $10,065,000
A total of 14 projects are on tap, headlined by continuing development of the Chisholm Trail South Park at 4200 E. New Orleans, to make it a showplace regional destination park. The 2014 plan calls for a variety of initiatives, including a handicap accessible ball field, adult softball five-plex, trails network, regional playground, restrooms, pavilion and security lighting.
A much-requested dog park is also on the list. A five-acre play area for pets and their owners includes fencing, pavilion, irrigation and restrooms, which will also be utilized by the nearby trail system. Additionally, new neighborhood parks will be created and older neighborhood parks will be refurbished; plus, the football field at Nienhuis Park will get a new synthetic turf.
Public Safety: $8,550,000
Heading the public safety list is completion of Phase I of the new public safety complex and the start of Phase II, which will refurbish a vehicle and equipment storage building. The fire department will purchase new firefighting rolling stock, personnel protective equipment and replace Fire Station No. 3. Other projects include improvements to the police and fire training center and replacement of police mobile data equipment.
Public Buildings: $1,115,000
Two undertakings make up this section of the package. It includes land and engineering to replace or expand the outgrown maintenance center facility, which supports city field operations. Land will also be purchased for regional storage of emergency salt and sand to keep motorists safer when ice and snow cover roadways.
Stormwater/Flood Control: $3,730,000
A total of seven undertakings, ranging from drainage improvements to bridge upgrades are included.
As required by law, funds approved by voters in a general obligation bond election must be used for designated projects. Along the way to achieving those objectives, new opportunities may present themselves. When that happens, voters need to give their permission to repurpose already approved funds. Two such requests totaling $7,255,000 are included in this year’s vote.
The first request involves $5,885,000 previously authorized by voters in 2004 for a 50,000 square-foot conference/convention center. That money will be used to purchase land for a new conference/convention center, which will better meet the needs and available operational capacity of today’s Broken Arrow.
The second request involves $1,400,000 approved in 2008 for acquiring a building and land for an arts center. That facility, owned by Broken Arrow Public Schools, remains in use by the school district. The repurpose plan is to build a Creative Arts Center in downtown, which will not only provide opportunities for residents to create and display their art, but it will further enhance the regional attraction power of the Rose District.
Peterson said the recommended bond project list was developed using long range policy and management tools, such as the draft Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan, 2008 Parks Master Plan, Downtown Master Plan, Comprehensive Plan and staff input based on present and future capital needs. The final recommended list was the result of a collaborative effort of multiple city departments.
A series of five public meetings were held May 19 – 29. The final project list went to the city council at its June 2 and June 9 meetings.
Complete project details can be found at www.brokenarrowok.gov.