The Norman City Council will decide several key matters from senior center funding to the location of an overnight warming shelter.

On the agenda for its regular Tuesday night meeting is the location and lease agreement for a homeless warming shelter but not in time for the icy weather that stung the city Monday. The item on the consent agenda, which is reserved as routine items adopted among others by one vote.

According to a lease agreement with Shelter Investments LLC, the city will pay $5,500 a month for the building at 325 E. Comanche beginning Nov. 1, 2020. “There is an option to renew the lease for an additional one year at the reduced rate of $4,200 a month,” a city staff report reads. It would hold 35 people with social distance requirements in place.

The shelter will be open through March 2021 and thereafter will “be utilized for storage of winter warming shelter supplies and possibly additional homeless community outreach purposes but not the operation of a shelter outside this timeframe,” the staff report states. “Limited access will be available for Outreach Case Managers to meet with clients on an individual basis.”

Funds for the lease will be paid in part with a $147,692 grant the city received through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Councilors also will vote on a security agreement contract with Elite Protection Services for $14,800 a month from November to March for a male and female security officer.

Also on the consent docket is a $237,329 grant through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (ODHS) to the parks and recreation department. The grant would fund a

Community HOPE Center, the staff report reads. “HOPE centers are designed to utilize community partnerships and to provide critical services to families using (the) science of HOPE as their foundation and serving children ages 5-18 as well as their caregivers.”

The program would provide school aged children with two free meals daily, snacks, “a weekend backpack program” and other programming available to support families, report reads.

Funds would be used to purchase supplies, computer equipment, and salaries. Staff includes mental health professionals and social workers. The program would be located at Irving and Whittier Recreation Centers and offered to 20 students at no cost to families, the staff report states.

Councilors also will vote on a purchase agreement for land to be used for the indoor multi-sport and aquatic center, a staff report reveals.

The agreement is between University North Park LLC and the city’s Norman Tax Increment Finance Authority. The authority will purchase 10 acres from UNP LLC for $2,069, 971, but an additional two acres will be donated by UNP, the staff report reads.

The Young Family Foundation, named for NBA player Trae Young, has agreed to donate $4 million for the project, the staff report states.

“The city warrants that it will make every effort to construct the project by May 1, 2023,” the report reads. “If the construction has not commenced by August 2021, then the seller has the right to repurchase the property.”

The complex “general location” is “just north of the Embassy Suites, bounded on the east by Max Westheimer Airport, on the west by 24th Avenue NW and on the north by Rock Creek Road,” the report states.

In November 2019, the city council approved an amended agreement with UNP that included a contingency that the complex would be located within the tax increment finance district. It allocated $2.7 million in TIF funds “for construction enhancement” and established a timeline for the project, The Transcript has previously reported.

Councilors will vote to appropriate $9.6 million in Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act funds for several projects, including the proposed Senior Wellness Center.

During the council’s retreat which was held as a special session on Oct. 16 and 17, the council discussed several projects for which the funds should be allocated.

According to the city staff report, $4.8 million will be used in CARES Act funds to cover the shortfall for the $12.1 million project.

The council also will have the opportunity to bring relief to some of the hardest hit nonprofit organizations. As previously reported, the Norman Arts Council and Visit Norman are funded through room tax revenue which has dropped by at least half throughout the pandemic. The NAC provides grants to local art organizations.

The staff report shows the council intends to allocate $575,000 for Visit Norman to restore lost revenue, $500,000 for the Norman Arts Council, $465,000 to the city’s general fund, $135,000 to the city’s rainy day fund and $50,000 to “municipal COVID service providers, such as Norman Regional Health System,” the report reads.

Mindy Ragan Wood


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