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Bana shines light on park project delays

Midwest City Ward 5 Councilmember Sara Bana speaks about delays and cutbacks for a GO bond project at Mid-America Park. photo by Jeff Harrison

City leaders agree to boost funding for Mid-America Park bond project

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Long-awaited upgrades to Mid-America Park are in the works, according to city officials.

Midwest City was awarded a federal grant to help with the project that was included in the city’s 2018 General Obligation Bond Issue. The city will receive a $790,000 grant from the Oklahoma

Tourism and Recreation Department’s Land and Water Conservation Fund for phase 2 of the park project.

The original plans for Mid-America Park, 1295 N. Midwest Blvd., included improving access and amenities to the park located near NE 10th St. and Midwest Blvd. The Atkinson family donated additional land that would expand the park. The $1.64 million project included parking lot extension, disc golf course, playground and pavilion, nature trail, community garden, basketball courts and restrooms.

Brandon Bundy, director of engineering and construction services, told the city council at the Jan. 9 meeting that the Mid-America Park project was underfunded as part of the 2018 GO Bond Issue which has caused it to be delayed. He said the federal funds will help cover some of the costs.

The city still decided to cut back the scope of the project due to escalating costs.

Councilmember Sara Bana said she’s been disappointed with the delays and cutbacks in the project.

“Mid-America Park had 5-year plan, and a master plan that cost taxpayer $241,411,” she said. “Now in year six and we do not have enough funds to deliver the master plan that was officially marketed to residents and taxpayers.”

Bana said she met with City Manager Tim Lyon and Vice Mayor Pat Byrne to discuss her concerns. They agreed to address the concerns using funds from the city budget and future grants.

At the top of the list will be refurbishing and revitalizing an existing basketball court and installing security cameras at the park. The city will also build a new court and permanent restrooms at the park.

“Through diligence from Terry Craft (Midwest City grants manager) and Brandon Bundy and some value engineering we’re making sure the basic stuff is in order to complete the park,” Byrne said. “And Ms. Bana is right, it’s been delayed because of costs.”

Bana asked that the Mid-America Park project be a priority in future parks funding. The voters recently approved an extension of a sales tax that will be used for capital improvement projects and parks and recreation.

“As the new sales tax comes through, I ask that we distinguish this existing project that has needs rather than waiting,” Bana said.

Mayor Matt Dukes agreed, and the motion was approved by a 6-0 vote.

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