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Noon AMBUCS members express displeasure to City Commission

Ponca City Now - October 14, 2019 10:28 pm

The April 1 groundbreaking for the John and Mary Sutton pavilion at Lake Ponca.

Several members of the Noon AMBUCS waited through a long City Commission meeting Monday night to present comments to the board about how the City of Ponca City’s interaction with the organization fell short of expectations.

Leonard Epperson was the first AMBUCS member to speak about the group’s efforts to add a pavilion honoring John and Mary Sutton at Lake Ponca, adjacent Doug Nickles Memorial Playground, also built by the AMBUCS.

On many projects over the years, the City of Ponca City has participated as a partner, donating a portion of the labor and materials as in-kind contributions.

In 2018, Dr. Bill Stuever started work on the pavilion. Epperson said there were multiple levels of donors, but when the club wanted to include a donors’ wall to recognize them, they met with resistance.

“We’re asking you to allow us to keep our commitment to thank the donors in this way,” he ssaid.

Dr. Stuever said when he talked with city staff on Feb. 27 about the pavilion, he was told the city would help with concrete work for the project.

“They did not,” Dr. Stuever said. “We had to use donations. The City provided four loads of dirt and a snow fence.”

After the concrete work was done, Dr. Stuever said  he asked for seven yards of concrete to tie the pavilion to the playground, and he was turned down.

Gary Miles, who said he has been an AMBUCS member for 50 years, said the projects that have benefitted Ponca City have been many and satisfying to the community.

“Members have worked very hard, and if there has been a breakdown in communications, I apologize,” Miles said.

“When we built Ambuc Pool, we just built the donor wall without asking for permission,” Miles said. “It will be impossible to do this in the future if we can’t honor John and Mary Sutton and the people who made  this project possible.”

Another AMBUCS member, Bob Robbins, told commissioners that the VFW had made a donation to built a dressing room at Lake Ponca, but it was never built.

“We were told the money would not be returned and should be considered a donation,” Robbins said. “That should be added to the Sutton recognition wall.”

Commission policy  allows members of the public to make comments during Citizens’ Comments, but no action or decisions can be made, except to refer the matter to the City Manager for consideration or to schedule the matter for Commission consideration at a later date.


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