City Council approves Liberty Park inclusive playground construction, SPD officer Steve Thompson retires after 30 years of service

Sapulpa Parks and Recreation Director Jody Baker gave a presentation over ADA-compliant upgrades to Liberty Park at City Council’s regular meeting on Monday night. This project was part of the recently-passed bond issue. 

The Playground Selection Committee (created for the purpose of sifting through the submitted bids and determining which one was the best fit) chose the more inclusive option from Cunningham Recreation out of Charlotte, North Carolina in the amount of $599,000, which was the “lowest, most responsive and responsible” bid, according to Baker. The cost covers the new inclusive playground equipment and its installation, a safety surface, and a new parking lot. The Park Board and the Bond Oversight Committee concurred that this was the best option and best use of the bond funds. 

Baker reported that five companies responded to the bid and that three of them were responsive and met the criteria. Their total bid amounts were all within a couple of thousands of dollars of each other. 

He explained that there is a difference between playgrounds that are ADA-compliant and those that follow the seven principles of inclusive play, which is what they chose. Inclusive playgrounds allow everyone to play—not just children, but their caretakers as well. “Everyone can have fun,” Baker explained. 

Renderings from the new playground at Liberty.

The motion passed 9-1.

Sapulpa Police Captain Steve Thompson was recognized and commended for his 30 years of dedicated service to the City. Thompson joined the department in 1990 and won the Medal of Valor in 2004. 

Surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues, a visibly moved Thompson received a plaque and gifts from City Manager Joan Riley and, as is tradition, accepted his service weapon from Chief Mike Reed.  

Retiring officer Steve Thompson, center, stands with Mayor Craig Henderson, left, and Police Chief Mike Reed, right, as Thompson receives an official commendation and farewell from the city.

A Special Use Permit to allow short-term rentals at the old City Hall building at 116 East Dewey was unanimously approved by the Council. The second and third floors, a spacious 3,000 square feet apiece, will be available to be listed on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Mayor Craig Henderson explained that hotels and accommodation were one of the items the Downtown Master Plan identified as crucial for growth. Ted Fisher, representative for the building’s owner, the Kante Group, said that “they are very nice” and thanked the Council for their approval. The SUP was also unanimously approved by the Planning Commission at their November 17th meeting. 

A bid was awarded to Johnson Floor and Home for the removal and replacement of carpet and tile at the police station. Three bids were received, and it was determined that the lowest, Johnson’s at $47,518, met all specifications and requirements and was therefore the best choice. 

City Manager Joan Riley explained that upgrades to the police station was part of the recent bond issue, along with new vehicles and technical equipment. This was unanimously approved. 

During the time for public comments, four people spoke about an upcoming Planned Unit Development near 81st and Frankoma. The same neighbors voiced their complaints about the last development planned for this area during the summer, and the Planning Commission voted against it. The developer sold the land to a new entity who has created another plan for the area, but it is too similar to the last one, according to neighbors. This issue will be heard at the next Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, December 15 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

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E. B. Thompson

E. B. Thompson

Elizabeth Thompson is the News Editor for Sapulpa Times.