Woodward City Commissioners met Monday evening to discuss several high-ticket items and new cemetery regulations.

In the consent docket, the commission approved a resolution for the Woodward Police Department to dispose of surplus property of exercise equipment from the city fitness center. The board also approved a facilities use agreement with Woodward House of Bounce.

The board approved acceptance of a US Department of Commerce EDA grant award in the amount of $2 million to improve the former Weatherford Building by replacing the roof, lighting, windows, HVAC, fire suppression system, shop doors and other interior and exterior components.

“I still call it the old Fruit of the Loom building because that’s what we all knew of whenever I first went into business in the 70s. They had over 800 employees at one time,” Woodward Industrial Foundation Chairman Doug Haines said. “This particular grant is crucial to basically put into an asset of the city’s that needs some attention done to it.”

According to City Manager Alan Riffel, engineering, architectural and project inspection fees will be the responsibility of the city with an upfront, out of pocket investment of around $300,000.

“We have two years to begin the construction, four years to complete the construction,” Riffel said. “We’ve had several out of state companies looking at it but it’s hard to market in the condition it’s in.”

According to the contract, the city is required to submit project progress reports, financial reports and other forms throughout the renovation process.

“We’ve always kind of been known as a more progressive type. Look at our community compared to other communities the size of ours,” Commissioner Steve Bogdahn said. “We’ve been willing to take those, if you want to call it, risky steps in order to make Woodward more.”

Bogdahn said he had originally been adamantly against acceptance of the grant because he didn’t feel the project’s over $3.2 million cost would be prudent for the city with furloughs still in affect. Fortunately, because of CARES Act funding, over $900,000 is already available. With the grant, he is now confident this is a good investment.

Commissioners approved a change order from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for 34th Street project for a total value of $328,846.56.

“We have currently nearly $700,000 on deposit with Department of Transportation,” Riffel said. “We expect to get money back from this project because we were required to put up over $9 million dollars.”

Some of the additional expenses are solid slab sodding, which was placed according to plan on all disturbed areas, including utility easements that were excavated in the backslope.

Additional pipe and fittings were installed in the water line at Downs Avenue that had to be relocated due to a conflict in the plans, including an existing water line at Quail Drive which was shown incorrectly and conflicted with the drainage structures.

Unclassified excavation, aggregate base type A and additional PVC pipe were used to correct an existing sewer line found in the footing of a drainage structure that was removed by the plan. A new sewer line had to be relocated around the new structure.

Miscellaneous removal, reset and added construction material and structures were also needed to stabilize soil and water bearing in native sand, some of which had to have rock added to stabilize the soil.

Additionally, compensations were requested for additional costs incurred due to price increases and cost for additional days.

According to Riffel, Cummins Construction Company will not be paying penalties, but won’t collect all the lost days they requested.

The board also approved amendments to cemetery regulations and declaring the resolution as an emergency.

“You’re going to see a lot of things that are grandfathered in. Because there are a good number of the citizens that like to maintain their graves,” Parks and Beautification Board Chairman Ronnie Brittain said. “And we don’t want to offend them or cause them hardship, or anything as long as they’re well maintained.”

The cemetery regulations will soon be updated at the cemetery and at https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/woodwardok/latest/woodward_ok/0-0-0-2887 on the city website.

“From this day forward, there’ll be nothing but grass allowed on the cemetery plots,” Brittain clarified. “But those that do have other kinds of coverings, they’re not being disturbed, as long as they are maintained.”

Amendments include changes regarding decorum, domed grave sites, curbing, footing under new headstones, benches, landscaping, flag and flower placements, and more.

Riffel reported BlueCross BlueShield analyzed their claims experience over the period of covid. With no elective surgeries going on, they are actually crediting the City $24,000 toward premiums.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs has donated a 2010 Dodge Charger to the Woodward Police Department, according to Riffel.

“We’ve been receiving an inordinate amount of vandalism in Crystal Beach Park,” Riffel reported. “We have extra patrols and those types of things going out there but that’s the difficult thing to manage and catch in that large of an area. It just baffles me how destructive some people are.”

Motorcycles have been damaging the Thunder Court surface, break-ins to the mini golf building, destruction done to golf carts, and the electric charging stations faces have been destroyed, Riffel noted.

According to Riffel, over 200 contestants in last week’s rodeo created a lot of activity at the fairgrounds and filled up some hotels in town.

Assistant City Manager Shaun Barnett is the new Oklahoma State 9-1-1 president, Riffel said.

Financial reports for September 2020 for the Woodward Municipal Authority were approved.

According to Riffel, online shopping has caused use tax revenue to go up. Accordingly, sales tax has gone down and the revenue of the two combined is down about 5 or 6 percent.

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