Big Plans in the Works for Downtown Bixby
HARMONY BRIDGE: A view of Bixby’s pedestrian bridge, renamed the Harmony Bridge, after it undergoes improvements. Additions include lighting, space for seating and shade areas, and cycling and walking lanes.
Courtesy City of Bixby
In November, Bixby Mayor John Easton highlighted the various development projects taking place in Bixby in his State of the City Address, hosted by the Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Funding for renovations to downtown will come from one of the four approved 2015 propositions, which revolved around improvements and upgrades to the Downtown River District.
Phase I of downtown improvements will begin soon, said Easton. This includes gateway signage for the Downtown River District that will be constructed like a silo in order to pay homage to Bixby’s agricultural heritage, he continued. One silo will will sit along Memorial Drive at the Arkansas River and possibly a second silo would be located at 151st Street and Memorial Drive.
Wayfinding signs will also be located throughout downtown and have a lighting feature for night.
Along Main Street, sidewalks will be reconstructed with bump-outs to allow areas for seating and landscape, and brick-paved crosswalks will be added.
An eye-catching addition will be large steel arches that will sit above the intersection of Armstrong Street and Dawes Avenue.
The city is working with utility companies to move utility wires and poles from overhead to underground “in order to make downtown look cleaner,” Easton said.
Downtown improvements are expected to be fully completed by 2019.
Changes may soon be coming to the city’s library, which sits at 20 E. Breckenridge Ave. The Tulsa City-County Library system wants to build a new library in Bixby, one that would include a Starbucks.
“We are currently trying to find land and determine what to do with the current library,” Easton said.
Starting in 2019, Easton expects to see work begin on the city’s River Access Park, which will sit south of the river, to the west of Memorial Drive.
The park will include a water feature and pavilion.
An activity trail will lead from the river park to downtown and will run through a renovated pedestrian bridge along Memorial Drive that has been renamed Harmony Bridge. Approved designs call for the bridge to be a light blue color with space allotted for seating, shade areas and other community activities, such as food trucks, and lanes for cycling and walking; the bridge will also feature lighting and a music element.
Easton expects bridge improvements to be completed by early 2019.
The activity trail will also run through Bentley Park and is planned to include various family and children’s activities along the way.
With funding from the 2016 bond issue, the city decided to repurpose its rodeo grounds into two multi-purpose athletic fields at Bentley Park. In order to gain revenue, city officials auctioned off the rodeo equipment. Additional parking will also be added.
Regarding improvements to Lake Bixhoma, the city is currently seeking grant dollars to fund additional revitalization funding.
“Bixhoma is a major resource for the city. It’s going to take a lot of money to do what we want to do.”
The city is preparing to consolidate both of its wastewater plants at its south plant.
“With the current technology, one plant will be able to serve the city for the next 20 years,” Easton said.
The city is currently in the design phase and waiting for government approvals.
Easton expects the project to be finished in 2019.