The FSB Team has been working hard to achieve Platinum certification which is an ambitious goal and corresponding number of points. We were pursuing 81 possibly 82 total points with 80 as the minimum threshold. There are some points we cannot achieve because downtown Sulphur does not have the density of a larger metropolis or public transit. We are getting a healthy number of points for the energy efficiency of our heating/cooling system but not all we had hoped for. With these not panning out, we are falling a few points shy of the number needed for Platinum. But it’s full steam ahead to assure Gold certification which is a small step away from Platinum, still very challenging and impressive to achieve.
There were a couple of expensive points with not as great a return on investment that the client wanted to reconsider. The photo voltaic energy harvesting system is at the top of the list followed by enhanced commissioning. But even with these taken out of the equation, we will have a solid number of points above the 60 needed for Gold which provide us a comfortable safety factor. I’ll recap our revised checklist of points in an upcoming post.
I have been dabbling in the world of investigative reporting and visiting local establishments to discover local color and stories. One of the local phenomena’s is Donut Palace located directly west and across the street from the Visitor Center. It’s a busy place, opens at 5 am and closes at noon. It attracts an interesting variety of clientele. Local color abounds in Sulphur and there is no shortage at the donut shop. You’ll meet RJ, Margie, Christine, Bob and others. There is a steady traffic of locals, construction workers from the Artesian construction site and a continuous flow of vehicles pulling through the drive-in window. Donut Palace is owned by a young local couple, Rick and Sophera. They have grown roots in Sulphur and are making a go of it with the shop. You’ll see a post featuring the local color of this establishment.
A local Oklahoma City based cable channel that focuses on Oklahoma stories and events is producing a special on Chickasaw Country (formerly known as the Arbuckle Country tourism district). They will be interviewing yours truly and telling about the Chickasaw Visitor Center which is the feature project of the FSB Blog which you should know lots about by now. Local reporter Katie Kurtz will conduct the interview and the special will air on memorial weekend. The FSB Blog will have a feature story on the interview the Tuesday Post after that weekend.
The project is now taking a deep dive into construction documents. The design process has progressed through its orderly phases and the look, feel and intent of the project is well documented. However, the details must now be worked out and there are many challenges ahead.
Spin Off Project
There is a desire to provide a walking trail from downtown Sulphur to connect the Visitor Center and Artesian Hotel through the Chickasaw National Recreational Area park land to the Chickasaw Cultural Center. This would provide a heart healthy alternative choice to get from downtown and points in between to the Cultural Center. The walk is about 1.75 miles and there is approximately 90% of the trail in place via the existing park trail system. I walked the trail about a week ago and it is a granite gravel surface of generous width, well maintained with a significant number of structures that appear to have been constructed by the CCC in the early days of the parks existence. The path is mostly shaded and provides a pleasant experience through wooded park land and follows Rock Creek most the way. Visitors would enter the Cultural Center through a new entrance on the east side via a pedestrian bridge over Rock Creek. The new entrance would only be about ¼ mile from the Rock Creek Camp Ground. The path is an easy hike with a high point at the Bromide Hill overlook providing a panorama back towards downtown Sulphur. A bike trail could also be mapped out allowing another mode of recreational travel.
Local Sulphur Chamber of Commerce
The local chamber under the guidance of Shelly Sawatzky/Executive Director had been pushing out the FSB Blog to local members and residents and keeping them informed of all the activities in Sulphur. The town is all a buzz with the current remake of the Artesian Hotel, the upcoming construction of the Visitor Center, Downtown improvements, and on the adjacent corners of Muskogee and 1st Street where the Artesian and Visitor Center are located on the NE an SE corners respectively there will be a pocket park on the SW corner and a Gallery/Artist Center on the NW corner. When I ask locals on the street if they have heard of the upcoming Visitor Center project they all seem to know something about it.
Sulphur is changing and changing for the better. With the current projects under way it has the opportunity to regain some of its glory days of activity. The Chickasaw Nation is providing the catalyst for revitalization with the projects that they are spearheading. It will be up to the citizens and business community of Sulphur to take advantage of the momentum and play a key role in the transformation of their town.
Stay tuned. The FSB Blog will keep you posted…