NORMAN — After months of planning and a series of public meetings spanning Oct. 22-25, Moore voters approved two measures regarding park funding.
“We were certainly pleased to see them pass,” City Manager Stephen Eddy said late Tuesday. “They will make a tremendous difference in our community for parks and recreation.”
Eddy once characterized the measures as quality of life “game changers.”
The first proposition before Moore voters would authorize $25.1 million in general obligation bonds to fund a major destination park if approved.
This park would be home to a new aquatic facility, a new community/recreation center, a farmer’s market/ multi-purpose building, an outdoor amphitheater/stage, and a 2-mile multi-purpose trail in central Moore.
“The numbers were very supportive,” Eddy said. “The bond vote had a wider margin of victory than the sales tax issue.
“That was a little surprising to us,” the city manager said.
The second proposition would establish a quarter of a penny, temporary sales tax that would run from April 1, 2013 to March 30, 2017. That temporary sales tax would be designated for improvements to existing parks.
“Although the margin of victory was suprising, they both were approved by comfortable margins,” Eddy said.
“We are grateful to the voters and citizens for approving the measures and the confidence they have in the city,” he said. “We’re very excited.”
The two initiatives were the result of months of planning.
“Earlier this year, the council decided we wanted to take a look at the overall parks system so we did the parks master plan,” Eddy said in a previous interview.
That master plan made recommendations including upgrading Moore’s current parks, but it didn’t stop there.
“It also made a recommendation about this big new park,” Eddy said. “Now is the time to put this forward. We had quite a lot of public input as to what people want to see in their existing parks.”
With the pool closed, a new, state of the art aquatic center is badly needed. So are the other amenities included in the proposed general obligation bond.
“The farmers market building was high on the list of things people said they want to see in Moore,” Eddy said. “The interest rates now are very low, so we think we would get some good interest rates. The bonds will be issued over time.”
The first bond would be issued in early 2013 if voters approve the measure.
The impact on property tax, if approved, for a Moore home with an assessed value of $100,000, would be about $4 per month.
“We’re very excited about it,” Eddy said. “We believe if it’s approved by voters it will be a game changer for us, particularly in quality of life.”
The projects will make major upgrades and improvements to existing parks, build a wall of honor to recognize veterans, create gathering spots for families to enjoy time together, offer new health and wellness opportunities for Moore residents and create a positive economic impact from special events and new destination facilities, according to the Master Parks plan and city staff notes.
A series of public meetings, focus groups, citizen interviews and an extensive citizen survey, conducted in the Fall of 2011, produced a priority list from Moore residents. According to the input the top four priorities of Moore residents are:
· improvements/ en-hancements to existing parks
· a new aquatic facility
· a new community/ recreation center
· walking trails/sidewalks.
The Moore City Council considered the extensive input from residents and developed the two proposed park improvement propositions.
The city council voted unanimously to place these propositions on the ballot.
The temporary quarter cent sales tax would cost shoppers an additional 25 cents for every $100 purchased. The advantage of sales tax is that shoppers from outside of Moore help contribute to the economic impact.