The Edmond Sun

Opinion

September 28, 2012

OUR VIEW: City still on track for I-35 plan

EDMOND — The City of Edmond continues to wind its way through negotiations with developers on what could be one of the largest public-private projects in city history.

The city is already committed to $11 million in public tax dollar investments into a hotel/conference center project at Interstate 35 and Covell as well as a potential indoor sports complex. The idea is that the city purchases the land for both projects now and the developers have the option of leasing with a later option to buy back the land once the projects are built. The city also would contribute tax dollars to infrastructure improvements into the area.

The overall plan for the four corners at I-35 and Covell is large in scope. Potentially, residents could see two new hotels, the conference center, the sports complex, a movie theater, another big box store, five to eight restaurants and convenience stores all as part of the future development. This area also potentially could house a future fourth high school for Edmond Public Schools and Francis Tuttle Technology Center already has broken ground on its new campus facility on Covell.

The City of Edmond sees this area as a huge opportunity for potential new sales tax revenue, and plans to recoup most of its tax-dollar investment within 10-12 years when the entities buy the land for the projects they have built. Additionally, the city is not buying the land for all of these projects, but solely for the hotel/conference center and the indoor sports complex.

A city task force learned recently, that more public dollars may be needed to finance the infrastructure needs in this area, including moving up the timeline for the final phase of road widening on Covell.

There’s much to debate among these proposals, and city leaders have been careful to note during discussions that many details remain unfinalized and still could change by the time the final memorandums are signed. The trick for the city is to get these projects online as quickly as they can so that revenue starts pouring back into city coffers while at the same time making sure they protect all residents’ interests in our natural resources.

The upcoming 2013 Southern Regional Championship soccer tournament set to be hosted in Edmond June 20-26 is one really good example of why the city needs the development at I-35 to move ahead. This regional tournament will be hosted at the Service-Blake Soccer Complex on Danforth and is expected to bring in 208 teams from 12 states. Organizers estimate that 3,000 hotel rooms are needed for the anticipated 6,000 attendees for an event that could bring a $5 million to $9 million economic impact into the area.

As things stand now, most of the hotel rooms that will be booked and used during this week-long tournament will be booked in Oklahoma City and surrounding communities. Edmond hotels will accommodate about one state worth of teams, leaving the rest to find lodging and thus pay hotel/motel taxes and sales taxes to other cities besides Edmond. If the tournament goes well, then Edmond can anticipate hosting three more of these regionals in the future.

And this is just the example of one event for one sport. Edmond is home to other major sporting tournaments including the Endeavor Games at the University of Central Oklahoma and the upcoming Senior PGA tour at Oak Tree National in 2014.

While we absolutely want the city to be diligent with taxpayer dollars and make sure they are getting the best deals possible, we see the need for moving forward with a project of the caliber proposed for Covell and I-35. As to whether the city should issue any new bonds for this project is a broader discussion that we believe the public should have after the Nov. 6 general election gives us all a better sense of the country’s and economy’s direction.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results