Council member Lynne Miller disagreed.
“I think that this school by definition is a school,” Miller said. “That area is a light industrial area, however, it’s rather unusual. It houses many programs for children. ... I think it’s safe for those children, and I think it’s safe for these children.”
In other city business, budget discussions of capital projects continued. City staff addressed questions about several projects, including the McKinley Elementary School circulation project with $25,000 designated as a match with Norman Public Schools to asphalt a rough-hewn gravel lane along the west side of the school.
Master Police Officer Teddy Wilson said the department administers crime prevention through environmental design, which helped lead to this proposal. An incident with a mother and daughter bicycling brought the danger of the current drop-off and pick-up at McKinley to a head. A vehicle trying to pass parked cars at the school almost hit the cyclists.
“That’s why we stepped up to help because it is a problem for us,” Wilson said. “You can’t get a fire truck through there.”
Traffic backing up is mostly a problem in the afternoon when kids are picked up. The new plan will take cars off Flood Avenue and direct them to enter from Cruce Drive. The asphalt along the west will run parallel to Pickard Drive and will circumvent the trees so they will not have to be removed.
The council agreed to keep the project in the budget.
The council also agreed to talk to the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau about possibly sharing the cost of wayfinding signs, a one-time $80,000 investment. The city will maintain the signs but is hoping for help with the initial investment.
The Reaves Park road project was discussed with a lower-cost option proposed for cement roads that are in failure. Rather than the $250,000 project originally proposed, the roads will be repaired with asphalt overlay at a cost of $50,000. The repair should last about five years, city staff said.