The City of Sapulpa has decided to postpone the Dewey Streetscape redesign by a “minimum of a year” after learning about additional requirements needed in order to secure federal grant money to pay for the project.
In the Monday, November 20th City Council Study Session meeting, City Manager Joan Riley updated the council on an important update regarding the Dewey Streetscape redesign, which was slated to begin in January following the Route 66 Christmas Chute of the 2023 holiday season.
Ten companies showed up to the pre-bid meeting in early November, but after the project was let out for bidding, only two companies submitted bids: Diversified Civil and Cherokee Pride. Both bids were over the budget by about $1 million, but the bigger issue, according to Riley, was the length of time for the project to be complete.
“The most telling of this was the amount of days that it would take to complete the project,” Riley said in the meeting. “Diversified Civil state 300 days, Cherokee Pride, 290 days. About the same length,” she said. “We had all hoped they wouldn’t go past six months.”
Aside from the length of time, the pricing of the project and how it’d be paid for was also part of the update. “We have about $2.5 million in GO Bonds,” Riley said. “We have a grant for just over $2 million through INCOG, and ODOT. We have been working with them on that grant, making sure we had everything in place. When we sent the plans, we got a call back from ODOT that this is an historic roadway.”
That designation by ODOT meant that they would need to approve the plans, following an environmental study and a historic preservation review, a process that the city says could take six to nine months, according to ODOT. “It’s under their oversight, so it puts a screeching halt on our progress,” Riley said.
Riley said that they knew they didn’t want to start this project in the middle of the year, so she put it before the city council to postpone for “a minimum of one year and try to start next year.”
Despite the delay, Riley says that the new direction could be a good thing for the project. “We might be able to reduce that construction time, if ODOT bids that out,” she said. “We may be able to get larger firms that do this more often and know how to get it done more quickly.”
One city councilor asked about the City’s recent designation of Route 66 as part of the City’s maintained roadways, and why it was that ODOT was even concerned about this, since Route 66 was now under local control.
City Attorney David Widdoes clarified that if the City wanted to get those grant dollars that it applied for, they’d have to meet those requirements put forth by ODOT.
By the end of the discussion, most, if not all of the council agreed that the best path forward was to postpone the project in order to attract more bids, shorten the timeframe of construction in order to minimize the impact it would have on the local businesses on Dewey.
City Project Manager Michael Russell said he’s on board with the decision. “I’m the kind of person who believes everything happens for a reason, and that ultimately, this will be a good thing for this project, and that we’ll be able to do it the right way,” he said.
The City says the goal is still to have the project complete in time for the Route 66 Centennial in 2026, and ideally, before the Route 66 Blowout in late 2025.