By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman is laying the foundation for jobs at a business and industrial park on the northwest side of the city.
Legacy Park and the University North Park Corporate Center are moving forward, city officials reported Tuesday at the TIF No. 2 Citizen Oversight Committee.
Construction on Legacy Park started in March. The park is expected to be the showplace of the retail and commercial development along 24th Avenue Northwest north of Robinson Street.
Funds from the Tax Increment Finance District or TIF are paying for the park. The land was donated by the developer as part of the TIF agreement.
Now, farther north, the corporate center also is under way. Two infrastructure projects will lay the groundwork for the business and industrial park.
Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary told TIF Oversight committee members that the projects should be constructed congruently by design.
The Norman Economic Development Coalition Corporate Centre will sit on 60 acres purchased by NEDC from the developer. NEDC will put in $5 million worth of improvements — including streets, storm water, water, sanitary sewer and a roundabout for one intersection in the corporate park.
O’Leary said bids came in below the anticipated construction costs.
NEDC Executive Director Don Wood said the bid was awarded to the lowest bidder, Silver Star Construction of Moore, at $4,372,375.
An Economic Development Administration grant will pay a 50 percent match up to $2.5 million on the project.
Also bidding were Downey Construction at $4.8 million and RDMK at $5.1 million. The engineer’s estimate was $4.7 million.
Tom McCaleb of SMC Engineers is the design engineer on the NEDC project. City staff will be involved with project administration.
The other infrastructure project is under the city’s wing and involves the construction of the remainder of the Interstate 35 Frontage Road known as North Interstate Drive. This portion of the road starts at Conference Drive and runs north, then east to 24th Avenue Northwest. A public water main also will be put in along the same alignment.
Engineering on the project is also by SMC.
Bids on the project will be opened in February, with an anticipated cost of $2.1 million to be financed with TIF funds.
Construction is slated to start March 15, weather permitting, with completion anticipated by November.
The frontage road will include a roundabout at the point where the road curves sharply to the east to connect with 24th Avenue. Originally, the city had hoped to connect with Tecumseh Road, but the private land owner would not grant the right of way.
O’Leary said the roundabout was chosen because high speeds along the frontage road made a 90-degree turn dangerous, and a roundabout seemed preferable to a stop light. Additionally, the roundabout will allow for a third leg, should the connection to Tecumseh ever become possible.
The committee also reviewed the University North Park Master Lighting Study, which will include power-saving, LED fixtures. Light fixtures include roadway lights and lights for the multimodal pathways in the UNP development.
The plan is for 114 decorative roadway light pole assemblies at an estimated cost of $9,500 per pole. Of these, 62 poles are destined for future roadways and will be installed as those roads develop.
The 52 poles that are needed for existing roads would cost about $494,000 and can be spread over multiple fiscal years.
The multimodal path will need 173 decorative pedestrian light pole assemblies. Of that number, 126 poles would be installed on future pathways.
The 47 poles needed for existing paths would cost about $352,500 and may be spread out over multiple fiscal years.
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