A city bus, parks cherry picker, and fire truck representing the transit, parks, and fire...

A city bus, parks cherry picker, and fire truck representing the transit, parks, and fire vehicles that will be maintained in the new facilities formed event’s backdrop.

Photo: City of Norman, Okla.

The City of Norman on Nov. 2 kicked off construction of its municipal maintenance complex with a groundbreaking ceremony at the City’s North Base, at 1301 Da Vinci St. The complex will house the new fleet and fire maintenance facility and the parks maintenance facility designed to handle the public transportation, public safety, and parks maintenance fleets.

“It is important, especially now, that we take the time to celebrate the wins and this is a win for Norman,” said Mayor Breea Clark in a city press release. “The vehicles maintained here will be used to get our most vulnerable residents where they need to go, maintain our many wonderful parks, and answer our resident’s emergency calls.”

The new parks maintenance facility, a 15,900-square-foot metal building with office space and 10 service bays for large parks maintenance vehicles, will replace the current parks maintenance facility in Reaves Park. The vacated building will be removed to provide space for the youth baseball, youth softball, and adult softball facilities planned in the Norman Forward program. The $2.2 million for this project is provided through a combination of Norman Forward funds and city capital sales tax funds.

The new transit and fire maintenance facility will be an 18,635-square-foot metal building with office space and service bays to maintain the city’s fleet of large public transportation and public safety vehicles. The city’s transit system, operating out of rented space at the University of Oklahoma, will move operations to the new building, including bus drivers, dispatchers, schedulers, and customer service representatives.

“The construction of this new transit maintenance facility is a great example of leveraging federal transit funds with local dollars to help us become a Top Ten state in public transit,” said Mark C. Nestlen, CEO of the Oklahoma Transit Association (OTA). “It also shows how to leverage partnerships with other city entities like parks and the fire department, ensuring local dollars are used in the most effective manner possible.”

State Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman), who serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, added Norman’s new maintenance facility is in line with the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan released on Oct. 23 by ODOT and OTA. The plan, mandated by HB 1365 authored by Standridge, exposures the inadequate level of transit maintenance facilities statewide.

“Norman is leading the way in addressing maintenance facility needs identified by the statewide public transit 20-year plan,” Standridge said. “In order to meet mobility for all Oklahomans, other transit systems will also need to construct facilities necessary to provide maintenance across the state."

The maintenance facility would have a $45 million economic impact on the City of Norman and reduce operating costs of the city’s fleet, Nestlen said. “The city will be able to perform service on its vehicles beyond the current limitations of 4:30 to 7:30, increasing efficiency and saving on maintenance costs.”

Funding for the $6.4 million project is provided through a combination of public safety sales tax funds, city capital sales tax funds, and a $5.1 million federal transit grant through the CARES Act.

“We are incredibly thankful to our federal legislators for their timely investment in local public transit through the CARES Act grant, which has allowed us to move forward with these critical projects,” City Manager Darrel Pyle said.

All facilities, designed by GSB, LLC and PDG, LLC and contracted to Flintco, LLC of Oklahoma City, Okla., will have alternate fueling systems, including slow fill compressed natural gas and electric charging stations. The facilities are scheduled to be built and occupied in July 2021.

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