Pawhuska may hold grant meeting sometime this week

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Pawhuska city government may hold a public meeting before the end of this week in regard to a streetscape project that will involve downtown improvements in the area of Main Street, Kihekah Avenue, and Grandview Avenue.

Interim City Manager Larry Eulert did not yet have a date for the meeting on Monday, but indicated it could be held before the end of the week. Eulert has been concerned about whether there has been sufficient communication with the public about the project, and especially with those who own property along Kihekah Avenue.

Eulert said details of the project remain somewhat fluid, but he agreed the following seems clear: the latest financing arrangement would be an 80/20 match, in accordance with which 80 percent of the expense would be paid with grant funding, while the city would be responsible for 20 percent; also, the current figure for the city’s likely match responsibility is in excess of $200,000, of which the Osage Nation has indicated a willingness to pay a little more than $100,000.

The Pawhuska City Council received a briefing on the streetscape project July 3 from architect Robert Shears, who recapped the history of the project.

Shears said the project goes back to a 2010 grant application. The grant wasn’t awarded until 2015, he said, but the Oklahoma Department of Transportation didn’t have the right email address to make the notification, and Pawhuska didn’t find out about the award for another year. Finally, in May 2017, Shears received a notice to proceed with a design, he said.

Shears indicated a steering committee of some kind had been formed regarding the streetscape project, but Eulert said he was concerned about having a general public meeting as soon as possible.

“The sooner, the better,” Eulert said, adding he doesn’t want to reach the point of hiring engineers without knowing how property owners along Kihekah Avenue feel about the project.