A revamped design including some new additions for the Miami Splash Pad project was presented during the last Miami City Council meeting along with the date for a groundbreaking event in October.

MIAMI – The much anticipated City of Miami Splash Pad project's initial design plan has been modified and a new plan presented at the last Miami City Council meeting.

A groundbreaking event for the Splash Pad is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the project's location on BJ Tunnell Boulevard/ Miami's Truck Route.

“You'll notice the original design had the Splash pad shaped like the state of Oklahoma, that really didn't turn out to be practical,” City Manager Dean Kruithof said. “What you're seeing right now is the same size splash pad as originally proposed and it is one of the largest ones in the region. We're kind of happy to report that. We're still trying to put in a lot of the elements in the splash pad regarding Miami.”

The new Splash Pad plans include a large water dumping bucket designed to look like a popcorn bucket signifying the Coleman, and other features depicting the state of Oklahoma, Route 66, and airport runways to include Miami's history in aviation and training of the British Flyers during World War II.

A 20x30 foot open pavilion has also been added to the design plans of the Splash Pad project.

“The Rotary Club is going to be paying for that pavilion as part of their Centennial Project,” Kruithof said. "Right now everything looks very good from a budgetary standpoint. There's still a lot of work that our subcommittee and also our Parks Committee have to do.”

The committees are looking at approval and costs of features such as water cannon designs and other final details.

A concrete rail style fencing paid for by a $5,000 donation from the Northeastern Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Council, will be included on the street sides to the north and west as barriers of the project for the safety of the children using the facility.

Some landscaping of bushes and trees will be included to enhance the project's appearance and use while being easier to maintain. A prefabricated restroom facility is included on site with one stall each for the boys and girls restrooms at a cost of $80,000.

“This is about the only snag we have in the plans, the restroom facility came in a lot higher than we anticipated,” Kruithof said. “We think we should have a two-holer and that came in at about $120,000.”

State grant funding is being pursued by Land Plan, and in-kind work may help reduce the funding needed to implement a larger restroom facility, according to Kruithof.

A parking lot nearby will receive an asphalt overlay and new striping by City crews. The water used from the splash pad will drain into the creek nearby. An earthen bridge across the creek will allow for pedestrian crossing and access for mowing and maintenance by City crews.

“So, it's still a work in progress, but if all goes well construction will start in October,” Kruithof said.

The Splash Pad is set to be open by the next summer season free of charge to the public, according to Kruithof.

Main Street

Olsson Associates Engineer Shaun McConnaughey laid out plans for projects to improve Miami's Main Street and Central Avenue and stormwater drainage which includes several improvements to the streets at these locations.

West Central Avenue to D Street NW will see street and sidewalk work for a cost of $612,000, storm sewer work at a cost of $280,000 and waterline replacement at a cost of $243,600 for a total of $1,136,400.

Projected plans and costs for North Main Street from 1st to 4th Streets Nw to include $1, 227,600 for street and sidewalk work, $186,000 for storm sewer work, $121,200 for waterline replacement, $264,000 for street lighting and $105, 800 for a traffic signal for a total of $1,904,600.

Funding options include loans through the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans, Financial Assistance Program and revenues from higher water rates studied and to be implemented by the City of Miami to its customers.

“It will get water out of the street but until we get the downstream development you may still see water puking back out of the outlets,” McConnaughey said.

Rails to Trails

A long-range project being pursued by the City of Miami, Ottawa County Commissioner Russell Earls and Pat Hecksher and Adrian Arnold of TSET (Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust) to work toward a Rails to Trails project from Riverview Park to the historic Route 66 Ribbon Road was presented.

Such trails are made by using the old unused railroad beds to create walking and bicycling pathways. A $5,000 TSET grant has already been given towards the project's development.

Earls, who has long been a proponent of the trail project, is actively seeking grant funding from $7 million available in Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grants after 2020 to enable the project to move forward.

In the meantime, Earls said in-house work could be accomplished that would not affect the ability to seek such grant funding for the project when it becomes available again.

“As commissioners across the state, we're passionate about road and bridges and any time we can do something like this we really like to do these things. A little bit like the Rockdale Bridge that was a neat little project we did, it turned out really nice,” Earls said.

The trail would run down the rail beds through Miami and come out behind the Southern Hills Baptist Church in Miami, cross Highway 125 and go on for another mile.

“Phase one, two, three and four, as we divide this thing up, when you hit 130 Road you go two-tenths of a mile and then tie into old Route 66,” Earls said. “We've already got Route 66 on our five-year plan to rehabilitate it. The National Parks Service has come onboard, they're going to partner with us the first time ever to try to rehabilitate Route 66, so that will be an additional three miles that would tie onto this trail giving us almost six miles in the first two or three phases.”

Near the Northeast VoTech just outside of Afton lies another section of old Route 66 about 3. 2 miles, that could also be developed in a later phase as part of the trails project, according to Earls.

“It's a long-range plan but we can get started pretty quick depending on which way we want to go,” Earls said.

Kruithof added, “If this is put into place with the six miles and especially with the Route 66 aspect people will be coming from all over to be able to ride this road and people will be coming from all over to come to Miami.”

Kruithof said the trail would include scenic river views to a prairie trail experience.

Hecksher said the groundwork has been laid but the project needs a plan and public support to become a reality.

“That's what we're here for is to try to help Ottawa County to become a healthier place and this gives people more opportunities to ride their bikes, and exercise and take their children with them,” Hecksher said.

Other business

Kruithof announced the City of Miami received a $30,830 grant with $7,000 matching grant requirements to purchase a generator for the City's communication tower, after purchasing the property from the Ankeman family.

Kruithof and Mayor Rudy Schultz thanked the Ankeman family for their willingness to allow for the purchase of the property after a 50-year lease agreement expired.

Another $10,000 grant was also received to purchase three 800 Megahertz radios to serve the communication center's needs, according to Kruithof.

In other business, the Council approved a height variance for a sign to be relocated from its current location to the Miami Auto Supercenter's new location at 1601 North Main Street in Miami. The sign stands 36 feet high, and the City's ordinance regarding signage now allows for a height of only 30 feet.

Fee waivers were approved for community financial support from the City of Miami to the Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency for the construction of single-family dwellings on infill lots.

A tipping fee waiver was approved for an undevelopable property located at 612 K Street NW.

The Mayor's nominee Ray VandeGiessen was approved to serve until May 2021 on the Miami Public Library Board replacing Mark Rickman.

An ordinance was approved defining and enacting City of Miami employees' retirement system as now fully vested from seven years effective on Sept. 1. Prior to this change, City employees were fully vested at 10 years.

Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at mstotts@miaminewsrecord.com or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.