By BOB LEWIS
In 1959, Ethel Merman introduced Broadway theater goers to the hit song “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” in the musical “Gypsy.”
In 2019, the City of Broken Arrow took the positive tone of that tune to new heights thanks, in large part, to the continuing success of its manufacturing operations and downtown Rose District.
In his annual state of the city address before the BA Chamber of Commerce, City Manager Michael Spurgeon painted an attractive picture of the community’s growth and its prospects for the future.
For openers, he pointed to population growth of 15 percent since 2010 that has elevated the number of residents to more than 115,000.
He said some 530 new single-family residential building permits were issued during the year while the manufacturing segment of the business community, already one of the largest in the region, grew to 320 firms. Enhancing that positive trend is a new tax increment finance (TIF) district created for the Creek 51 Business Park which has been described as a “business magnet” for clean industries.
Tax collections, he said were nearly equal to projections for the first half of Fiscal 2020 while use tax collections were above projections. Adding to that positive financial picture was the fact operating expenses were below projections.
Spurgeon said highlights of 2019 included completion of a new comprehensive plan and updates to the parks master plan. Plans for redevelopment of the Elm Place-New Orleans retail area are currently being finalized by a committee established by the City Council and a new curbside recycling plan is getting underway.
Looking ahead, he said continuing tax revenue growth, development of the Tiger Hill area and solving problems with the Hillside Drive retaining wall are under “intense focus by city administrators.”
In summary, Spurgeon said “Broken Arrow continued to thrive in 2019 and is increasingly seen as a leader for small cities in the state and around the region.”