At Sapulpa’s City Council meeting on Monday, April 6, 2020, a resolution relating to part of the recently-passed G.O. Bond was the source of some contention. Long-time Councilor John Anderson disagreed with some of the funding and planning of Proposition 5, which concerns the Booker T. Washington Recreation Center and its access road improvements.
Anderson understood that one section of Gray Street (the north-south street that runs from Line to Dewey past the rec center) would be redone immediately but that another area of the street would not be fixed until after the construction of the new rec center, which could take as long as 6-7 years. He expressed serious concerns about waiting several years for part of the street to be improved and said that “delaying this when it does not have to be delayed is ignorant and unfair.”
Carla Gunn, another City Councilor and a member of the 2020 GO Bond Advisory and Oversight Board, addressed Anderson’s grievances, saying that the start date of the projects and their costs are merely projections and that “nothing has been set in stone.”
The 12-member oversight board will be responsible for providing advice and written recommendations regarding the priority of projects funded by the bond issues, reviewing construction deadlines, and maintaining the tracking for the projects.
Anderson was also concerned about the amount of funds allocated for Proposition 5 in the resolution. The $100,000 budgeted is less than the initial amount proposed, and he was distressed, in case those funds were going towards another project.
However, Gunn later explained to the Sapulpa Times that that money has been allocated to pay for a feasibility study and other parts of the beginning planning stages. Gunn further stated that “the purpose of creating the oversight board was to look at the bond issue as a whole, not at individual propositions, and to discern priorities and the appropriate timing for each step…We want to take the time to do it right. There are so many variables involved.”
When the vote was taken after the discussion, the resolution passed 9-1, with Anderson the only “no” vote.
The bond specifies that eventually $8.5 million of G.O. bonds will be issued by the city for the proposition. Approximately $7.5 million will fund constructing, equipping, replacing and improving the center itself and $1 million will add road access and improvements.
The BTW project is one of the more complex of the six included in the bond issue and will take at least 4 years to complete. Gunn encourages people to “trust the process.” The point of the board is to be transparent and for everyone” in the community “to have a voice.”
The finished product will be a state-of-the-art facility and community center that Sapulpans will use, enjoy, and treasure for generations.