NORMAN — City Council members this week approved nearly $6 million in bundled TIF taxes to pay for Legacy Park in the University North Park development. But they also approved a contract for another park project, one closer to my heart and home.
The council approved a $156,000 contract with Aztec Construction Co. to replace the middle field softball restrooms and scorekeepers stand at Reaves Park.
Contractors will tear down the old building that dates only to 1981 and replace it with the new one. The west field building has already been replaced.
Softball enthusiasts are counting the days until the spring season opens. The building may not be done by opening day but most of the players won’t be ready either.
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My participatory journalism has taken on many forms in my Transcript life. Once, the county bar association asked me to play the part of Baltimore journalist H.L. Mencken in its recreation of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trials. (Maybe my clothes are a bit dated). I interrupted Judge Tom Lucas’ proceedings to say my newspaper would post the $500 bail for John Scopes.
Then, Jennifer Baker recruited me to community theater in the Sooner Theatre’s production of “Lucky Stiff.” The musical comedy involves dragging a corpse around the country. You guessed it, my role was the stiff.
Now, my talents were summoned to perform with the Norman Philharmonic Orchestra. The “cuckoo” whistle part was not written for me but it certainly has lead to many jokes around the community.
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The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved the early stages of a rowing facility on the South Campus. It’ll be built on Chautauqua, just south of the school’s rugby field.
The location is less than a mile from the Canadian River. It reminds me of that idea that someone — it may have come in a dream — floated a few years back when Riverwind Casino was under construction.
Why not invest in a series of low-water dams and turn the Canadian River as it circles Cleveland County into something similar to the Oklahoma River as it passes through Oklahoma City. The river today is much like it was when settlers came to the area: It’s too thick to drink and too thin to plow.
The stretch from Newcastle to Noble could be a beautiful oasis home to rowing teams, their boathouses, parks and riverside restaurants. It’s just a thought but the possibilities are exciting.
Just in case someone picks this up and runs with it, maybe OU should hold up on the design.