Around Edmond: City Manager and City Staff on Uncommon Ground with developer, drawing ire of 4 former mayors. Edmond Chamber weighs in.

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Hi everyone, hoping you had a great weekend. After so many instances passed to which I could have said something about the petty infighting happening publicly, which should have been left behind closed doors as continuing negotiation of the terms for which the Uncommon Ground Park would be accomplished, here we are, with developer Hal French pulling his land, money, and idea.

After the City leadership claimed publicly their full support of the project, as if they didn’t know what or why the reasoning was for Mr. French’s withdrawal, Mr. French’s attorney Randel Shadid claimed the City Manager and his staff had entirely derailed the park’s development, even two weeks after City Council had fully approved the project. In a statement to Fox 25, Scot Rigby announced something to the effect that Mr. French only pulled the project because of a lack of City incentives, which is common when developments occur that involve the public good of a project.

And, at the end of the week, Sherry Jordan and the Board of the Edmond Chamber spoke out about the significant economic loss losing this park project would incur on the City’s future coffers, then 4 former Mayor’s denounced the City leadership claiming the City was being driven in the wrong direction.

Negotiations are hard. Sometimes there are unwilling parties to a negotiation. Sometimes egos are the driving factors in negotiations. I won’t speculate at all as to what occurred here, but the common goal became entirely lost somewhere in this process.

What appears to have been lost here on the negotiating parties was the popular approval and desire to have this amenity built, by not only some but almost all Edmond residents in favor of the proposed 62-acre park for which development of the land had already started occurring on 2nd Street and Coltrane in East Edmond.

There has been a long-standing issue with City staff being nonresponsive to making errors or in response, for any reason, to City residents for years and years, it’s not only a problem with the current players within the City.

I had my own experience with this issue from 2014 to 2020 when I was forced to live 3 blocks outside of Edmond, just outside of Edmond’s Utility border because I was triple billed for a final electric bill for my old home in 2014 that was inaccurately reported and that severely damaged our credit scores and credit worthiness for 6 years.

I kid you not, the rep at Edmond Electric “Karen” refused to listen to me and refused to remove the inaccurate credit reporting after I met with a City leader and he determined this did occur, to which I went straight to the Utility department and paid the new amount. It even continued in our credit reports for 4 months after I paid the actual amount due until I asked Karen and the City leader for the universal credit reporting data forms used to continue to report false information. City staff then decided that they didn’t want to do that, so they finally ended the 6 yearlong nightmare they caused me and my husband.

I can tell you that this kind of treatment can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth that in reality is sheer incompetence and this behavior really takes the fun and enthusiasm a person may have toward Edmond and causes dislike for the City staff, in general.

I don’t know what happened, but Mr. French and Mr. Shadid are reasonable men, used to harsh negotiations, so I can’t imagine why current City leaders are standing up for City staff that are essentially getting in the way of something nearly everyone in Edmond is rooting for in its development.

Especially in light of all of the disputed and protested developments the last City Council slid right through in the Downtown area last fall and this spring, that doesn’t offer any value to most residents, only benefiting an affluent few.

I remember having a two-hour coffee meeting with Mayor Lamb and Ken, the President of the Edmond Chamber. We discussed in depth the workings of the Edmond municipality, the residents lacking knowledge of the power of the City Manager as the decider of most things Edmond, and the importance of City leaders and City residents all finding common ground to accomplish goals for Edmond that benefits everyone in the community.

They both made it clear that if it weren’t for genuine desires being met with genuine efforts, not simply feigned claims of everyone getting along, past City leaders would not have been able to accomplish all that has occurred over the last few decades within Edmond.

I can say after quiet reflection based on my observation of how the City leaders operated over the last 4 years, that the spirit of common goals is lost with current leadership, and it feels as if being the winner here in this situation is all that matters.

And, because this is glaringly obvious, I agree with 4 former mayors I have nothing in common with politically. Let’s do better and stop leaving behind the citizens who live, work, shop, and dine in Edmond or we will lose their support to OKC and beyond.

See you all back here on Tuesday to talk all things upcoming events, back-to-school shopping, and new development.

Enjoy your Sunday,

Sherri

About Author /

Hi there! I am Sherri Hultner and I am the founder of all things EdmondActive! The website and social networks of over 46,000 local residents are where you can find me interacting daily with our followers @EdmondActive.

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