So here’s the latest on the Bricktown fire station designs. Avis Scaramucci, chair of the Bricktown Association and a member of the Bricktown Design Review Committee, spoke late this afternoon with City Manager Jim Couch.
Now, before I tell you what Couch had to say, consider the following:
- I was told by Assistant City Planner Susan Miller the project should have been submitted to the Bricktown Design Review Committee and was uncertain why it hadn’t been.
- Fire Chief Keith Bryant told me he’s not ready for this preliminary design to be submitted to the Bricktown Design Review Committee. He said he wanted to make sure the designs were complete before sending them to the committee. So, the council is being asked Tuesday to approve preliminary designs without the benefit of knowing whether Bricktown might hate them or whether they’re any good. And Bryant is to have us believe that the city is prepared to scrap the “final” designs and start from scratch if they are rejected by the urban design committee. History tells me that if the design committee were to balk, they’d be told it’s too late and too much time and money has been spent to start over.
- Public Works Director Dennis Clowers pretty much said the same as Bryant, adding the project went significantly over budget already. Does that indicate to you the city would have the resources to start over again once the designs are complete?
So now let’s move onto Avis Scaramucci’s conversation with Jim Couch. He told her it’s city policy to have council approve project designs first, and then have them go to design review committees. If this is policy, it must be fairly new because I’m not so certain I’ve seen it in practiced previously. And come to think of it, I’d be curious as to whether the Walnut Avenue bridge, or the Bricktown police substation ever went through design review.
What I do know is that city staff isn’t perfect. They make mistakes. I make mistakes. I do know the city hasn’t always played by the rules its imposed on the private side. I’ve seen privately sponsored public art projects grind to a virtual halt going through the tedius oversight of the Oklahoma City Arts Commission. No such delays were encountered with the Land Run Monument – city staff simply skipped the commission altogether.
I’m not sure if the city intended to skip Bricktown Urban Design or not. But I do question the logic of having the city council approve preliminary designs and allow them to be finalized without knowing that they are being critized within Bricktown. I’ll be at City Hall in the morning – maybe someone will educate me then.