MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

April 17, 2013

Board names sports complex in 3-2 vote

By Chesley Oxendine

Times Correspondent

Fort Gibson’s sports complex was tentatively named “Whitlock Sports Complex — In Memory of Quincy Vaughn” during the town’s last meeting.

Not every Board of Trustees member is happy with the name.

Mayor Steven Hill, in his last week both as mayor and a trustee, motioned to name the site “Whitlock Sports Complex,” with an addendum on the upcoming sign, saying “In Memory Of (late Whitlock Packaging employee) Quincy Vaughn” as well as “Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.”

Trustees Theda Rowan and Myra Cookson objected to the name.

Cookson said Fort Gibson paid more than Whitlock toward the complex’s construction, and while she acknowledged his contribution, she said the town should be first in the naming.

She also talked about an email conversation between herself and Hill that assured her the matter would be discussed in detail.

“You’re going back on your word,” Cookson said. “That name says nothing about this town.”

Hill said he made a promise to Whitlock and he intended to keep it.

“You’re not being fair to the citizens,” Rowan said.

Former mayor William Boyd, addressing the board, said the jobs Whitlock provides in Fort Gibson should also be taken into account.

Cookson said the Hill and Trustee Jim Huggins, who also departs the board next week, were trying to push the motion through before they left.

“You’re welcome to change it next week, you know,” Hill said.

Hill’s motion passed 3-2, with both Cookson and Rowan saying “no” during the roll call.

The two promised to rescind the motion as soon as they can.

Another sign of concern was a road name change.

Boyd withdrew his original request to change the name of Willey Road to Honor Road in order to honor the families of veterans taking their deceased to the National Cemetery.

Instead, he proposed the town affix signs saying “Honor Road” to the existing road markers coming off of U.S. 62 to Cemetery Road.

“As far as I’m concerned, this would work,” Boyd said. “We don’t want to cause problems, and changing road names comes with a lot of trouble.”

He said American Legion Post #20 will raise monies for up to four signs, and anything above $1,300 raised would go to supporting the Post’s Trail of Honor.

“You guys come have breakfast with us the first Saturday of the month,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, Clinkenbeard took a moment to thank the departing Huggins and Hill for their service on the board.

“We’ve done a lot of good stuff,” he said. “Thanks for eight years.”

Other agenda items discussed or voted on were:

• The town appointed Effie Foster and Robert Hendrex to the Fort Gibson Historic Preservation and Landmark Commission.

• In its roughly two months online, the police department’s online ticket payment system has taken in more than $16,000, Chief of Police Clint Vernon said during his bi-monthly report to the Board.

• Discussion of when to open the splash pad at the Municipal Park was moved to the next meeting.

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