By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
It was a busy night at the regular Monday Sand Springs City Council meeting. Recently-elected Councilwoman Christine Hamner was sworn in to serve an unexpired term for the vacant Ward 4 seat. Announcements were also made regarding the RiverWest and Sheffield Crossing developments.
Hamner won a fairly close special election against former State Senator Nancy Riley earlier this month to replace former Vice-Mayor John Fothergill. Fothergill vacated his position after being appointed as chief deputy to Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith. Hamner is a clinical supervisor at a foster care agency, with master's degrees in educational leadership and counseling, as well as a bachelor's in psychology.
Rick Stuber, Architect for El Maguey gave a brief presentation regarding the construction status of the restaurant's new location in the RiverWest development. Stuber described the new layout as "more intimate" and upscale than the restaurant's existing location, comparable to the finer Mexican restaurants of Tulsa. The Ayala family is currently projecting a late March opening.
City Manager Elizabeth Gray gave an update on the overall RiverWest development. According to Gray, the German-based discount grocery store ALDI closed last week on the property immediately next door to El Maguey.
Additionally St. Francis Warren Clinic will be expanding in Sand Springs with an urgent care facility in RiverWest. "We're very excited to see them expanding and investing in our community," said Gray.
"Our company has been in business 45 years...through the years you learn a few things," said RiverWest developer Barry Tapp of Tapp Development. "One of the things I've learned is the rarity of a council like this. To find a council with vision like this one is extremely rare," said Tapp. "This is a great project, and it's come a long way in the last two years." Tapp announced plans to purchase the piece of property immediately behind the new Starbucks location in RiverWest. "We're about to start a $2 million dollar project there."
Zach Johnson spoke on behalf of OmniTRAX and the Sand Springs Railway. The demolition of the former Gerdau steel mill is expected to begin in the next 40-60 days after the current asbestos removal project is complete. The retail section of Sheffield Crossing will encompass approximately 25 acres. "I think it's going to be transformative for generations for our community," said Gray. Following the presentation, the council voted unanimously in favor formalizing a previously unofficial development agreement approved last year with OmniTRAX.
Council approved a one-year contract extension with Precision Lawn Care for continued maintenance of City properties. Council also approved a contract with American Demolition to visually improve the Katy Trail and U.S. Highway 412 corridor and remove various sections of brush and overgrowth.
Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with Levee District 12 to begin the process of evaluating and repairing the district levee. Former councilman Fothergill spoke on behalf of Tulsa County, who will also be participating in the agreement, urging council to approve. In the event that the Federal Emergency Management Agency decided to decertify the levee, flood insurance premiums could skyrocket for businesses and homeowners in the Sand Springs flood-plane.
Council approved a $65 adoption fee for dogs and cats in the Sand Springs Animal Shelter.
Council approved an alteration to their existing "Open and Transparent Act." According to City Attorney David Weatherford, the existing policy has been nearly impossible to comply with due to policies such as uploading City Budgets within an hour of their approval. Mayor Burdge clarified that they are not doing away with their Open Records policy, simply making it easier and more realistic to comply with.