The organizers of the Land Run 100 bicycle race appeared before the Payne County Commissioners on Monday to get permission for racers to camp on the Payne County Courthouse lawn when the event returns to Stillwater on March 14.

District Bicycles co-owner Bobby Wintle and Land Run 100 Event Manager Sally Turner made the request.

The Land Run 100 is a 100-mile bicycle race covering the red dirt roads in Payne County. The course will remain the same as last year, covering roads in southern Payne County with a halfway point in Perkins. Turner said that around 15 campers utilized the lawn last year and they are already inquiring about reserving a spot for the 2020 race.

District 2 Commissioner Chris Reding reported the campers left the lawn in very good condition. Campers are not allowed to use alcohol, drugs, or have fires on the lawn. Smoking is permitted in designated areas and the campers are expected to clean the premises before vacating.

Turner said 3,000 participants are expected for the next race, a big jump from the 1,700 who participated in 2019.

All the Airbnb homes in Stillwater are already booked for the event, Wintle said. Racers this year include 30 riders from Denmark.

The race is held annually and scheduled for the first weekend of spring break when OSU students leave Stillwater.

The commissioners also approved a request from the Stillwater Junior Service League to place a collection bin on the first floor of the county administration building during the Harvest II food drive.

The commissioners spent approximately two hours at the Monday meeting hearing presentations from three engineering firms for bridge inspections in Payne County. District 1 Commissioner Zach Cavett said the inspections cover bridges over 20 feet in length, in accordance with federal guidelines. According to the last bridge inspection report posted on the Payne County website, there are 263 bridges in Payne County subject to inspection.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation provided eight questions for Cavett to ask the competing engineering firms and the commissioners graded their responses. They ultimately selected CEC Corporation from Oklahoma City to be the county’s bridge inspector for two years.

Representatives from EST, Inc. of Oklahoma City and GUY Engineering Services, Inc. of Tulsa also made presentations to the commissioners for bridge inspections.

The commissioners approved a resolution to sign a project agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to build a bridge on East 86th Street just east of Rose Road. The existing bridge was closed two weeks ago, due to a recent inspection, Cavett said. He estimated that the replacement bridge would cost over $1 million and wouldn’t be completed until some time in 2021.

CLEAN Program Coordinator Jenni McKee presented a quarterly program report showing that 17 participants completed 519 hours of community service working for environmental enforcement and courthouse maintenance. Their labor saved the county an estimated $7,792.

An additional 21 participants worked 55 hours saving the county an additional $825.

CLEAN is an acronym for Cleaning our Land, our Environment, and our Neighborhoods. Participants in the program complete community service required by the Payne county district court or Stillwater municipal court, as well as the Payne county drug court.

After a presentation by Sheriff Kevin Woodward, the commissioners approved a new sick leave policy that will be recommended for adoption by the Payne County Budget Board.

The policy mirrors the provisions in Family and Medical Leave Act that allow the elected county official to request a statement by a health care provider certifying that the employee’s medical condition prevented the employee from working.

The new policy would also allow the employer to pay for a second examination by a provider selected by the employer. If the results of the two examinations conflict, the employer could require a third examination by a mutually agreed on provider who would provide a final and binding opinion.

In other business, the commissioners approved $609,364 in weekly purchase orders. They also approved the transfer of $241,812 of monthly sales tax proceeds to the Payne County Facilities Authority for operation of the county jail.

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