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February 12, 2014

Council members unanimously approve contract for center city study

NORMAN — A unanimous city council moved forward Tuesday night on a project to rejuvenate a portion of core Norman running between Campus Corner and the downtown commercial district.

The Norman City Council met Tuesday at the new Norman Public Schools Administrative Services Building, 131 S. Flood Ave., because the city council chambers and the study session room are closed for construction while new audio and visual equipment is installed.

The primary item under consideration was a contract with the National Charrette Institute in cooperation with the University of Oklahoma.

The Center City Planning project is a collaboration between OU and the city to create a master plan for a 42-block area between Campus Corner and downtown Norman.

The city council unanimously approved the contract with OU and the National Charrette Institute for $200,000 to facilitate a public design and creation of a master plan and zoning code with building form standards for the center city visioning project.

The city’s share of the contract is $100,000 — OU will pay the other half. The city approved a memorandum of understanding with OU on Jan. 14. The charrette contract formalizes the agreement and brings a third-party expert team to the process.

“I’ve been excited about something like this since I was a kid thinking about Campus Corner and downtown and how they could be connected,” Council member Stephen Tyler Holman said.

Gray Street is the north boundary of the project area, with railroad tracks forming the east boundary, Boyd on the south and Park Avenue and Flood Avenue on the west.

Among other issues, the charrette, or collaborative design proposal, will consider the best use for the area, including the possibility of increasing the level of high-density housing allowed in that part of Norman.

The planning and code creation is expected to take about seven months.

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