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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Jenks Growth Spurs Citywide Projects


MAIN STREET WIDENING: Jenks Mayor Dr. Josh Wedman, center, stands with officials from the City of Jenks, Tulsa County and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation at the groundbreaking ceremony for the widening of Main Street from Elm Street to State Highway 75.


ROSSY GILLE for GTR Newspapers


The City of Jenks recently broke ground on the widening of Main Street from Elm Street to State Highway 75 in order to accommodate the city’s growing population and traffic counts.

The project is planned for completion by fall of next year. Once it is finished, the widened street “will make commutes faster and safer and provide for easier city accessibility,” says Jenks Mayor Josh Wedman.

Wedman was named Jenks mayor in April of this year. He joined the Jenks City Council in 2013, with one of his priorities being to improve accessibility in and around Jenks, he says, “because when you improve accessibility, you improve free market activity.”

In an effort to further spur commercial development, in 2014, the city council approved two additional TIF (Tax Increment Finance) districts for the area south of Main Street between Highway 75 and Elwood Avenue and the area north of 121st Street and directly west of Highway 75.

The area along Main Street, since renamed the Gateway District, is home to the headquarters of Gateway Mortgage, and city officials are hopeful that commercial growth will soon come to that area.

Along Highway 75, near the fourth TIF area is Kirk Crossing and the Jenks Landing development, which is currently under construction.

The multi-use project will include multifamily units and office and commercial space.
Additional office space is coming to downtown Jenks, with the construction of Jenks on Main at 201 W. Main St.

Revitalization is underway at the Riverwalk Crossing.

While the entertainment area has not yet recaptured the levels of pedestrian traffic that it saw in its early years, before the economic recession of 2008, it has seen an influx of local restaurateurs in the past year: Andolini’s Pizzeria, Maryn’s Taphouse and Raw Bar, and Burnco, with Bramble Breakfast & Bar rumored to be opening next.
Retailers are also slowly being added, including Pedego Electric Bikes and Maybelle & Co. Decor and Gifts.

Since being purchased by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in 2011, the entertainment area did not show major signs of a renaissance until Flying Tee opened in June of last year, a development made possible by city officials’ decision to demolish the movie theater in order to make way for Flying Tee, says Wedman.

“That was a large city effort that unlocked the door to Riverwalk’s future success.”

In addition to the new businesses joining Riverwalk, though, Wedman is quick to recognize the many businesses that remained at Riverwalk throughout the long downturn, including Los Cabos, Cigar Box, which rebranded itself as the Whiskey Bar and Tap House, and The Melting Pot.

“Those are the unsung heroes,” he says. “They stood by Riverwalk Crossing and Jenks; they played a role in its current success.”

The commercial developments occurring throughout the city largely mirror the residential activity that has taken place within city limits for a decade or more.

From 2000 to 2010, Jenks doubled in its population. In 2016, the city saw 1,300 new homes.

“Jenks has outpaced other communities every year and is currently the fastest growing city in the state this year,” says Wedman, who moved to Jenks in 2005.
With a growing city, though, comes the need for increased efficiencies in all areas of the city, he continues.

In an effort to address city operations, a consultant was hired last year to conduct two comprehensive studies involving city departments and how they conduct business.
“We want all parts of the city government to implement a strategic approach to government,” Wedman says.

A new software program has been implemented in Jenks’ public works department which allows city employees to collect data on street quality and their needs, in order make “data-driven decisions and to determine which roads need work now and what kind of work,” he says.

“This is a more efficient way to spend taxpayer dollars.”

Wedman and the city council are also focused on establishing Jenks as a city known for its beauty by launching various beautification projects, including tree planting and replacement, citywide landscaping and consistent mowing.

“When people drive into Jenks, we want them to think, ‘This is different,’” he says.

Updated 10-09-2017

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