John Feary

As your acting City Manager for the City of Claremore, I will be open and transparent. To that end, I am pleased to partner with the Claremore Progress to publish a regular column sharing updates, ideas, plans and more about what is in store for those who live, work and play in Claremore. This column should appear every other week and will give you better insight into how city government works and some of the issues we are tackling head on. As always, I hope it will lead to more engagement with the residents of Claremore and you will take an interest in our plans.

For the first installment of the newly developed series, we will look at how the City of Claremore plans to address infrastructure needs – everything from sidewalks and utilities to sewer lines and water system upgrades. Some of these projects are badly needed and haven’t seen an update in 50 to 70 years. We aim to change that, and we have developed a prioritized plan to address the most pressing needs first. Because some areas in the city have been neglected for so long, improvement won’t happen overnight, but we plan to make the best possible improvements under timelines and remain committed to transparency to the residents of Claremore.

Updating our water system is a major priority in Claremore, and much of our infrastructure is quite old – some pipes and other material have been around for as long as 90 years! Of course, water breaks occur in every system, but they are more frequent in older systems like the one in our city. There are a number of reasons for breaks and leaks, including corrosion, improper past installation, pressure fluctuations in the system, and temperature changes that lead to ground shifting.

Ground crews have worked tirelessly to fix problems when they arise, but ultimately, a long-term solution is needed, and that is what we are aiming to do. This initiative started several years ago, and the First Street Water Line Project completed last year was one of the highest priority replacements.  We are currently working toward final construction plans on the Talbert-Sioux Feeder Main Replacement Project. This is a massive replacement project that will eliminate an estimated 30 to 40% of the highest frequency main breaks. 

A few years ago, we held a series of meetings about infrastructure in Claremore with residents, which we learned a lot about in terms of location and how it affects everyday life. We are taking that information, as well as information gleaned from residents more recently, to focus on the high-need projects throughout the community.

We plan to invest $20 to $30 million into these projects over the next 5 to 10 years. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but you will start to see positive changes around the community that will improve Claremore. Through the development and completion of the projects, we aim to remain accountable to the taxpayers and want to make sure you are informed and engaged throughout the process.

Through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant matching program, the City of Claremore is working to improve sidewalks, in hopes of becoming a more pedestrian-friendly area. Over the last few years, several of these projects have been completed in the older parts of town.  These projects improve ADA accessibility, connect areas without existing sidewalks, and add value to the neighborhoods. 

Other projects include a system-wide water improvement plan, an electric system upgrade in the Westwood area, and replacing 3,000 aging electric poles.

These are just a few of the project we have under development in the City that we think are not only needed to enhance our great community, but needed for safety as well. We plan to share more information in the coming months.

One initiative we are excited about is called Claremore Cares, which highlights the positive news, events and change-making people who are shaping Claremore for the better. Head to our Facebook page to check out the first installment and look for more stories in the coming weeks and months ahead. Also feel free to nominate a person, business, group or organization that you think deserves recognition by sending us a message on Facebook.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your acting City Manager, and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Please feel free to share your thoughts directly with me at citymanager@claremorecity.com.

Sincerely,

John

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