When the Stillwater City Council meets Monday it will be discussing several projects that have been stalled out for years.
Most of the items on the Council’s agenda deal with building but one involves making things better by taking something down.
First, a public hearing will be held to gather input on a drainage project in a flood-prone area at 12th Avenue and Duncan Street that has been proposed for the 2019 Community Development Block Grant. CDBG funds are distributed to cities by the federal government to improve infrastructure and quality of life in low and moderate income areas.
Block 34, a city-owned block in downtown Stillwater will receive a lot of the City Council’s attention. Although the City Council appointed a task force in August 2017 to find funding and address the development of Block 34, visible progress has been slow. The now-vacant tract was the site of a lumber company and county jail annex before those two buildings were demolished.
The task force has presented a phased plan for transforming the uneven, patchy surface into a public space similar to Tulsa’s Guthrie Green. The design presented by the Block 34 Task Force includes educational features and a programmable artistic light display as well as a bocce courts and an outdoor stage.
Future development could include a market building for retail and restaurants, although that portion of the plan hasn’t gotten a go-ahead from the City Council.
Two wind turbines were installed on Block 34 in the spring. The smaller one located on the northwest corner at 8th Avenue and Husband Street runs an interactive weather station. The larger turbine is designed to provide power for the proposed artistic light display and could help power other features.
The councilors will be asked to approve funding to remove unused alleyways that divide Block 34 and to grade, sod and irrigate the grassy surface.
They will also consider the proposed design for a mural to decorate the wooden fence that surrounds the footing of the larger wind turbine.
Finally, they will be asked to authorize the Block 34 Trust to secure funding and move forward with design and construction of the outdoor stage, its systems and landscaping.
The Council will hear a progress report on the ordered demolition of an apartment building at 416 W. Maple St. that it declared dilapidated and abandoned in May.
The apartments and other rental units, 17 in total, have been boarded up and unoccupied for several years. The tract is owned by Bartlett Investment Properties, a Georgia company.
Trinitas Ventures, an Indiana-based developer of student housing, received approval to build a seven-story apartment complex on the land in late 2017 but no progress was made and that deal eventually fell apart.
The owner was given until Aug. 26 to get necessary permits and clear the land. The Stillwater Fire Department responded to a fire at the vacant apartment building on June 28.
The Council will also be asked to authorize City Manager Norman McNickle to issue a request for proposals from developers interested in an adaptive reuse of the defunct Boomer Lake power station. The City of Stillwater also owns two parcels of land adjacent to the power station that connect to Boomer Road.
Special Projects Manager John McClenny previously presented information to the councilors about industrial facilities in other cities that have been renovated as restaurants and entertainment venues.
The Council will consider a resolution establishing an anti-discrimination policy for the City of Stillwater related to city employment, and access to city facilities and services.
It will also consider a second reading of Ordinance 3435, which amends the city’s code to address licensing of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.
Lastly, the Council will meet in executive session to discuss personnel issues pertaining to City Manager Norman McNickle and City Attorney John Dorman. Employment contracts for the City Manager, City Attorney and Municipal Judge, the only employees who answer directly to the City Council, are usually discussed as the July 1-June 30 fiscal year ends or begins.
The councilors may take action following executive session.