The Pryor Times

June 8, 2013

Elliott saga continues

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— Elliott Street continues to be a hot topic.

The Pryor City Council met Tuesday and discussed the possibility removing the curve at S.E. 29th and Elliott Streets.

The request was initially made by County Commissioner Darrell Yoder at the Pryor Street Committee meeting. Several area residents were present to voice their opinions.

The council agenda, as it was worded, reflected the suggestion of replacing the curve with a non-stop intersection, but several other ideas were considered. A three-way stop, a turn lane, a stoplight and more strategically placed stop signs were all suggested.

“I’d like to see a three-way stop there and that curve done away with. There might have been only two wrecks reported there, but they both took out my mailbox and there are plenty of people that don’t call the cops when they get into a wreck,” said E.J. Cox, who lives on the curve and was the only resident present at this meeting.

Mayor Jimmy Tramel said removing the curve will cause issues with property rights and easements.

“And we’ll need a turn lane so we don’t back up traffic at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.,” said Tramel. “We’re getting ahead of ourselves on this.”

Yoder was not present at this meeting but Tramel said it had been previously discussed that the county would pay for the project.

“We may not be paying for it but we’re not there yet. I understand where the residents are coming from but we’ve still got a long road to go,” said Tramel, who said it would take a minimum of 30 days to get construction underway no matter what solution was chosen.

City attorney Kim Ritchie said typically the landowner owns to the middle of the road and it takes a while to get property ownership sorted out.

“That road is nearing completion. Wouldn't it be easier to do whatever we're going to do now, rather than waiting on it to open only to have to close it again,” said council member Greg Rosamond.

Council member Drew Stott warned it is possible the curve could be made more dangerous, saying a stop light doesn't necessarily make things safer.

“Several residents were up here at that street meeting. And I’ve talked to several people that are interested in seeing a three-way stop sign put in there,” said council member Leonard Barnes, who is also on the street committee.

“I’ve had some calls, too. Without a stop sign there I don’t think these people could ever get out of their driveway,” said council member Carolyn Wise.

Stott suggested hiring someone to do a survey to determine the best solution as it could be paid for by the county as part of the cost of the project.

Rosamond said Elliott Street is scheduled to re-open soon it will be opened as is, with the existing curve.

The council discussed the need to ask Yoder if the county will pay for the project no matter what solution was chosen, or if their participation is contingent upon using the original suggestion of a non-stop intersection.

The council decided to table the issue to pursue further conversations with the commissioner.

Pryor Fire Department will see some upgrades as the council voted to approve re-tiling their showers. Pryor Fire Chief Tim Thompson was present with pictures to show the showers were not well-built and have a significant amount of mold. Quotes were received for the cost of tiling the entire shower area. The council approved the expenditure of $4,500 to Hefley Ceramic Tile Inc., for tearing out and installing two showers to be paid from the capital outlay account.

Interim director of Pryor Creek Recreation Center Dick Holme, came before the council to plead his case that good pay attracts good employees.

He requested raising the pay of the janitorial staff from $7.25 per hour but not to exceed $9 per hour.

“Right now we have a revolving door; they work here until they can find something else. We’ve gone through three just since I’ve started, one of which only worked one day,” said Holmes, who began the position May 7.

“We’ve got a $6 million building and I’m doing the best I can to make it the best it can be,” said Holmes. “We don’t pay people enough to entice them to care. It’s hard to get them to stay long enough to care about our vision for the rec center.”

Holmes said if something isn’t done about the pay, the center could easily have no janitorial staff at all and cleanliness is crucial for health and membership reasons.

Council member Travis Noland asked how the wage increase would affect the center’s overall budget.

“Not much to be honest. We’re budgeted to pay a few janitorial workers but can barely hang on to one for very long, so money allotted for that is still there,” said Holmes.

Rosamond pointed out that a high turnover rate of employees is expensive.

The council voted to approve the increase.