City Manager's Corner
In the after math of the Bond Election I suspect everyone has a bit of “election campaign” fatigue from talking about roads. I will say, even though the propositions did not pass, your council is determined more than ever to find a solution to fix our roads—one that is acceptable to the voters and fits within the confines and challenges of the financial ecosystem we work under in Oklahoma. The scope of the road problem remains unchanged, as does your desire to drive on smooth roads. I am confident our council, in partnership with citizen input, will find a funding solution acceptable to the majority. So, enough about the election and roads, today I want to tell you about all the good going on in your city, as well as what is in store for the future.
Starting with Bouse Park and moving into the spring ball season, the Parks & Recreation team is zeroing in on the sweet spot for park success. The Ball Park team set a schedule for leagues and tournaments that surpasses last year’s. We have 58 teams signed up for Spring League play compared to 44 last year this time. The park is booked every weekend starting 14 Feb through the end of June and we are actually turning away interest as we are totally booked. These teams come to town with family and you may even see them at our retail and food outlets. We recently responded to a request the Wednesday before the Presidents Day weekend and added two tournaments, 40 and 60 teams respectively for a Saturday / Sunday tournament. Our concessions contractor also flexed and we were able to provide concession services to the tournament. The new paved parking came in very handy over this booked holiday weekend. The lined, paved lot helped to control a bit of the parking free-for-all we have seen in the past.
There is a lot of development going on around the City. The developer for the Starbucks building is set to complete construction and turn the facility over to the owner around 1 March. Starbucks will take about 90 days to outfit the interior, and hire and train staff. We should see an opening early this summer, if not sooner.
The Best Western Hotel is coming along nicely and has the 3rd story up. I predict completion sometime in early fall. Something I have heard often is “why does Choctaw need a hotel?” For one, looking at the projected activity of our ball park, all those teams are spending the night in Midwest City or Shawnee. The EOC Tech Center has multiple conferences each year and the attendees end up staying in Midwest City or Shawnee. EOC Tech also has a Fire Fighter School whose attendees end up staying in Midwest City or Shawnee. The goal is to capture that business and keep people in Choctaw.
Tinker Federal Credit Union is also progressing nicely. I believe they are projected to be complete sometime in the fall as well. The new TFCU will bring two amenities in addition to a banking facility: 1) small coffee business Cyndi Beans Coffee, 2) and a community gathering facility available for meetings, small conferences, and receptions.
Bobby Lewis from State Farm Insurance broke ground on a retail building at the corner of 15th & Choctaw Road recently. He will relocate his insurance office to the site but also have multiple retail spaces available. We are excited with the potential of that development.
Three other areas of development include one on Harper across from Choctaw Creek Park, which will be a physical therapy office, and one on 23rd Street across from Tractor Supply, which will be a health clinic. The third one, on 23rd Street, west of the car wash, is where an auto mechanic shop was, the building is completely gutted now with water pipe out front, but when complete will house two or three retail entities, as we are working out design details with the developer now.
Continuing with image zone improvements, we are adding new picnic tables and benches at The Caboose. The flag poles were refurbished and flags were added at the Caboose and we will be adding landscaping.
Contractors are working on resurfacing the Cemetery roadways and adding a parking lot. We added new benches at Ten Acre Lake. New playground equipment courtesy of the Mayor’s Golf Tournament was recently added to Choctaw Creek Park and work is being done to resurface the playground parking as well as adding parking for the Farmers Market. We are also in the process of adding concrete pads and landscaping work for the disc golf course.
We made some updates and improvements to the Senior Center with new flooring, repairs to sewer and plumbing, and added new fencing.
Coming soon will be updates to the current bathrooms in Choctaw Creek Park and repainting and resurfacing the Splash Pads. We are exploring the feasibility of adding a bathroom at the front entrance of Choctaw Creek Park.
Preparing for Spring Break, we have multiple Camps available: Art Camp, Science Camp, Football, and Golf Camp registration is now open. Our next special event will be the ever-popular Easter Egg Hunt in Choctaw Creek Park on April 11th from 10 AM to 1 PM.
There is so much good going on in the City it is difficult to capture everything in one small article. The Mayor has set up an “idea box” to get more from citizens. The email is active and can receive your input at: email@example.com. His vision is to set time aside before council meetings to discuss with council and the citizens concerned. I am on Twitter if you want to follow me, City of Choctaw City Manager (@ofChoctaw). I am attempting, within the constraints of Twitter, to get out small tidbits of information useful to understanding some of the inner workings of your City Government. Believe it or not, Municipal government is not about politics but more about building a community. Your council and staff are one-hundred-percent trying to serve in the best interest of the community first. Engage us on Facebook, our website, by email, or by phone.
More to follow, take care...
--posted March 4, 2020