The city engineer has asked officials to consider expanding the city to the south to claim higher ground and capture a national landmark within the municipal boundaries.
Jack Dalrymple asked council members for direction on the dual-purpose proposal which he said could potentially bring Miami a $2 million to $3 million Route 66 tourist attraction and lure future home builders away from flood-prone areas.
We have condemned homes that are chronic flood homes, identified an additional 500 homes that are uncomfortable to live in when it floods, Dalrymple said. It is obvious that our town is somewhat shrinking in numbers due to the flooding situation. We need to look at ways of growing our community in a safer, higher elevation that doesn't flood. One of those safe, higher elevations is south of town.
Dalrymple said he has been approached by the office of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe to design a mini state park around America's longest stretch of the original Route 66 highway. It sits south of Miami's city limits and in the jurisdiction of Ottawa County's Highway Dist. 3.
The senator, according to Dalrymple, is confident that he can obtain funding for the project.
If in fact we need to annex, it stands to reason that we would want to annex close to our properties that we already have and kill two birds with one stone, Dalrymple said.
Specifics of the funding mechanism that would be u used to obtain money to design and build the park are not known.
I don't think they have to be mutually inclusive projects, said councilman Rudy Schultz. I mean, we need to figure out which way our city is going to grow and I guess this could be kind of your first footstep out there, but you don't have to do one to do the other. I do think we need to be having this larger conversation about our community boundaries.
Schultz suggested that county officials be brought into the discussions.
If our community boundaries are going to grown, it should be a collaborative effort, Schultz said. We should bring the county into the discussion and see what they think.
Schultz also asked about the potential of annexation to the east and the potential of growth after the widening of Oklahoma Highway 10.
(Property east of the city) may not be as safe a location, elevation wise, Dalrymple said. But there is nothing wrong with going east.
Council members John Dalgarn and Scott Trussler voiced no objections to Dalrymple's proposals, but each indicated that it should not be priority.
I don't think there should be a great deal of time spent on it, Trussler said. I think it is part of the long-range planning that typically goes on in your office.
Dalgarn said he wanted to see other city projects completed first.