A splash pad at Boy Scout Park is closer to fruition following the announcement of a sizeable grant at the Monday night Shawnee City Commission meeting.

A splash pad at Boy Scout Park is closer to fruition following the announcement of a sizeable grant at the Monday night Shawnee City Commission meeting.

The Avedis Foundation approved a $203,293 grant to the city, requiring the money be matched dollar for dollar by the city. The commission voiced gratitude for the funds.

“We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it,” Commissioner Keith Hall said. “Avedis has already done so much.”

On matching funds, Mayor Wes Mainord expressed confidence in receiving an $110,000 grant related to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. Erickson added Phil Tomlinson of the Pool Committee indicated the committee has an approximate $50,000 or $60,000 in remaining funds from fundraising efforts.

“With the Avedis money, and the potential of the other grant and the $50,000 or $60,000, the actual expenses direct to the city could be as low as $30,000 or $40,000,” Erickson detailed.

To Erickson’s announcement that the splash pad could be complete as early as mid-May, the same time the downtown New Municipal Pool Project is expected to open, Mainord excitedly said, “What a splash it will make.”

Also on the agenda was the selection of an executive search firm tasked with finding a new city manager. Former city manager Brian McDougal recently accepted an identical position in Port Arthur, Texas.

With the exception of Commissioner Lesa Shaw’s opposing vote, all commissioners voted in support of awarding the search firm bid to Affion Public. The city will pay the company $21,000, which is “all-inclusive pricing.”

Human Resource Director Tammy Johnson noted she believed everyone on the City Manager Search Committee had voted in favor of Affion Public.

That committee, designed to narrow down candidates for the city manager position, is composed of Mainord, Commissioners Linda Agee and James Harrod, Randy Smith of Oklahoma Baptist University, Joe Ford of Shawnee Milling Company, Chuck Skillings of St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital, Kristen Wilson of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, and John Krywicki, Shawnee’s city engineer.

Responding to a question from Shaw, Johnson assured commission Affion Public does look at local candidates as much as possible.

During time allotted for commissioner comments, Shaw called upon Police Chief Russell Frantz to address commission with any information regarding the fatal weekend crash involving Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers.

The mayor took the power of the chair to call for a moment of silence for the troopers.

On the Shawnee Municipal Authority agenda, commissioners voted to enter into an “agreement with the Lester, Loving & Davies, P.C. for legal services in connection with matters related to encroachment into the City of Shawnee’s utility service areas by other entities.”

City Attorney Mary Ann Karns, noting the purpose is to retain an attorney and receive advice, said the primary portion of services would average $250 or less, per hour.

Karns responded to Shaw’s concern regarding a lack of cost comparison.

“My life experience is, if we can get somebody for $250 or $275, we’re doing really well,” Karns said.

With Shaw and Commissioner Micheal Dykstra casting the only ‘No’ votes, the item passed.