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May 7, 2014

Tough choices lead to downgrade of park road

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Currently, the city leases portions of that property for Griffin Park, Frances Cate Park and Sutton Wilderness. The state will sell some of the property, and a group of community stakeholders has been looking at how best to redevelop that land.

“The community committee has had two meetings,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “Of these eight goals, there are several things that require planning.”

Goals include a long-term financial collaboration, making portions of the land available for new uses, continuing to provide services for the mental and physical health of the Norman community, development options for affordable and market-rate housing, a master plan to determine cost and impact to the community, restoring the Bishop Creek watershed, securing long-term recreational assets and creating mixed use development for business, retail, social services and recreation.

Another addition to the capital budget is Norman’s $75,000 share of a study for reconstruction of the Interstate 35 and Indian Hills interchange. A traffic corridor analysis is needed.

“This is one third of the anticipated cost of the analysis,” Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said.

Sidewalk replacements and repairs on Robinson from 24th Avenue Northwest to 12th Avenue Northeast for $200,000 also was added to the capital budget. The sidewalk is badly needed for accessibility and to connect with core city destinations, city staff reported.

The city has identified more than $3 million representing 30 unfunded but needed sidewalk projects throughout the city, based on requests by Norman residents.

Still, it could be argued that the Parks Department has suffered the most from budget cuts and freezes that started during the recession years. According to the Parks Master Plan’s 2009 count, Norman has 65 parks with 1,140 in total system acreage.

During the recession, four parks maintenance positions were left unoccupied when personnel left. Those positions have since been eliminated.

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