Edmond State of the City
Edmond city manager Scot Rigby and Mayor Darrell Davis address a crowd at the 2022 State of the City on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. (Joe Tomlinson)

During opening remarks of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 State of the City event today, Ward 2 Councilman Josh Moore joked that the city’s traffic department asked him to announce road closures for the next year, which he said would take three hours.

Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis gave the day’s big speech regarding the city’s growth and accommodating infrastructure improvements. He and Edmond city manager Scot Rigby answered questions for about 20 minutes afterward.

When Davis began talking about upcoming road improvement projects around the city, Davis referenced Moore’s opening joke.

“Josh was talking about three hours worth of road closures. It’s really about four hours worth of road closures,” Davis said. “Orange is going to be our new color coming up, but that’s progress for us.”

However, Davis discussed the impact of inflation on infrastructure and public safety improvement costs.

“We have about a 10 percent sales tax revenue growth (compared to last year). That’s great. Some communities didn’t have that. Edmond did,” Davis said. “But on the flip side of that, we’re paying about 30 percent more for a lot of our services and products.”

During Monday’s City Council workshop on transportation infrastructure, Steve Manek, Edmond’s director of engineering, told councilmembers the city has started about $121 million in ongoing road improvement projects, about two-thirds of which he said currently lack identified funding.

“How are we going to pay for it? That’s critical,” Davis said. “How are we going to pay for all of this?”

Water, road infrastructure improvements

State of the City
Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis speaks to the crowd about ongoing public infrastructure projects in Edmond, Oklahoma, during the Edmond Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 State of the City event Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. (Joe Tomlinson)

Davis kicked off his list of municipal improvements with the city’s water infrastructure projects, which include a new intake structure, treatment plant and wastewater resource recovery facility, among other smaller projects.

“One of the biggest projects maybe in my lifetime, maybe in your lifetime, in anyone’s lifetime, is what we’re doing with our water,” Davis said.

According to the city’s public and capital improvement projects map tool, which is updated monthly, the three projects are currently projected to cost the city upward of $460 million.

The completion of these projects should allow Edmond to gain water independence from Oklahoma City.

“Right now, like this past summer, we have to buy water from time to time from Oklahoma City,” Davis said. “Oklahoma City has not been friendly with their rates to us.”

Davis then discussed road improvements, pleading with the crowd to be patient with construction and to pay attention to the city’s public service announcements surrounding road closures.

“We have so many projects in the queue to facilitate our transportation needs in Edmond. I’m talking about I-35, Danforth and Kelly — all over,” Davis said.

Manek, the city’s director of engineering, said during Monday’s council workshop that the intersection of Danforth Road and Kelly Avenue continues to be the most dangerous in town.

“It continues to be the number one accident site in the city of Edmond almost yearly,” Manek said. “So this is going to be not just for improving traffic mobility, but it’s to improve safety.”

Edmond citizens can view ongoing city street widening projects, traffic system installations, and Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma County transportation infrastructure projects through the city’s new interactive map tool, which launched Monday.

“We are making our website so interactive,” Davis said. “We want that to be the source for you to go get your information.”

Once Davis’s presentation concluded, Rigby took the stage alongside him to answer questions from the audience. One attendee asked about the possibility of a sports complex.

Rigby said “there’s been a lot of discussion” surrounding the construction of a sports complex over the last three years, as well as questions surrounding whether the city would operate the facility.

“As we’ve explored more, we’ve found industry partners that are willing to do those,” Rigby said.

During his closing remarks, Rigby, as Davis did earlier, pleaded Edmond residents to “be patient” with the city’s road construction improvements.

“Our projects, we try and space them out so we’re not doing multiple intersections at the same time. At the same time, we know there’s pressure from our community that says, ‘Please improve these intersections,'” Rigby said. “So what we’ll say in the last few seconds here (is) be patient.”