By John Filonow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said 2013 will be a special year for the city.
“People want to invest in Stillwater, it’s time to invest in ourselves,” Bartley said.
The city of Stillwater’s utility department will have a number of projects during the year.
Water issues will be at the top of the Stillwater Utilities Authority’s agenda for 2013, said Dan Blankenship, the authority’s director.
Southwest Stillwater has had water pressure problems for several years.
The city acquired Rural Water Corp. No. 3 in 2006, and Stillwater has seen urban-scale development in formerly rural areas in the southwest part of the city, Blankenship said.
In June 2012, the utilities authority selected a plan that would replace a booster pump station at State Highway 51 and Country Club Road, put a new booster pump station near Range Tower and put in a new tower near 44th Street and Western Road, along with pipeline improvements.
The authority selected CH2M Hill to do program management, real estate services, design and construction management for $4.98 million.
Blankenship said the city would have to work with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board or a private lender to finance construction, which is estimated at $18 million, according to the contract.
He said construction could begin in late 2014. It is expected to extend into 2015.
Improvements to the pipeline to the Kaw Reservoir, the source of water to Stillwater, have been authorized by the authority, too.
On Dec. 17, trustees authorized the department of water utilities to refurbish the pipelines rust-protection system, install safety devices to slow movement of the water when pumps are started or stopped and use close-circuit television to inspect the pipeline.
The Kaw pipeline was built in 1981 with a 35-year life expectancy. Blankenship said these improvements could extend the pipeline’s lifespan, but he couldn’t say how long the pipeline would last. He said there are plans to build parallel lines or replace sections of the line.
“You probably have a better chance of predicting who is going to win the Super Bowl this year than you do predicting the life of that pipeline,” Blankenship said.
A three-year project to rebuild the Boomer Lake Substation is expected to be completed this year.
Blankenship said the substation is connected to a loop which goes around Stillwater and connects to the Grand River Dam Authority system.
Loren Smith, generation and transmission division manager for Boomer Lake Station, said the in-house construction is set to be done by May.
Blankenship said the city will also be replacing a transformer at the Kinzie Substation in southwest Stillwater. The station was taken out of service and the utilities authority has gone through the bidding process for a replacement.
The utilities authority is expected to decide on the company for the transformer in January, he said.
Bartley said he would like to see quality of life improve as well as infrastructure in 2013.
Stillwater is getting to be too big of a community to only have one of something, Bartley said. He would like to see Stillwater have more than one playground with new equipment and the same level of amenities in all of Stillwater’s parks.
Boomer Lake has great potential for more development, Bartley said.
For improving quality of life and business development, the city government expanded its role.
Business Improvement District No. 1 Coordinator Amy Jo Frazier said she wants to work more with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to do more advertising outside of Stillwater.
She said she has been researching a sound system for downtown special events and wants to add color to the landscaping.
“We want to invest in the community, because that’s what downtown is all about, heritage and community,” Frazier said.
The city and Payne County will be working together more in the new year. With a memorandum of understanding between the two entities, officials hope to renovate the city jail into a juvenile facility and house all adults at the county jail.
The project still needs approval from the state legislature, but city officials have stated their commitment to seeing the project through.
The county will see changes, with new officials and new employees.
Chris Reding is the new county commissioner for District 2 and Glenna Craig is the new county clerk.
County Commissioner Zach Cavett said there could be a learning curve, but both are capable.
Reding said he would like to start a monthly roundtable for county mayors and community leaders.
Craig said she would like to put more county records online and improve customer service in the clerk’s office.
Cavett said he had several road resurfacing or re-stabilizing projects he wants to do in 2013, including re-stabilizing North Ingalls Road from State Highway 51 to East 19th Street.