The Board of Osage County Commissioners met at the courthouse in Pawhuska Monday morning and got some great news from Executive Director of Osage County Tourism, Kelly Bland.
In the last two months, it is estimated that more than $880,000 has been spent on lodging across the county. Bland reported that she has been getting phone calls from a number of tour buses who are looking to come through the county. Bland is looking to develop a relationship with Tishomingo for buses looking to pass through as well.
The Tallgrass Music Festival in Skiatook was two weeks ago. Bland reported that festival organizers ran out of brochures after the first night of music. The Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping Event took place on Sunday afternoon. Bland said it was very well-attended and said the event ran very smooth.
Bland had requested money for various upcoming events in the county. Some of that money will go toward a conference that Bland will hold in Pawhuska, which will bring in other tourism directors from across the state. Bland also let the commissioners know she plans on attending more conferences across the midwest to promote the area. Towns include St. Louis, Phoenix and Dallas.
Terry Loftis of JL&Associates was at the meeting to let the commissioners know he expects the stabilizing wall between the two buildings in Fairfax that were damaged by a tornado to be complete by Wednesday. If the wall is complete by Wednesday, the health clinic could open back up on Thursday. As of now, patients are being seen in a small administration office. The commissioners took action on signing a resolution to advertise bids so that those two buildings could get torn down.
The Blackburn Bridge running across the Arkansas River suffered major damage because of the recent flooding. It will take an estimated 1.5 million dollars to fix. The county commissioners elected to approve fixing the bridge.
The commissioners have a fund set aside to make improvements to buildings at the fairgrounds, along with other county buildings. That had been set aside to distribute evenly, but in light of damage to many county buildings, it was decided that 75 percent of the money will go toward improving county buildings and the fairgrounds will keep 25 percent of the money until further notice.
FEMA started with assessments across the county Monday afternoon. The county has completed individual assistance and have started with the public assistance.
The next regular scheduled board of Osage County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for next Monday at 10 o' clock in the morning.