Owasso Brings New Growth in 2013

EXCITING EXPANSION: Tulsa Tech’s Owasso campus, above, will be fully completed in March with its first classes beginning in Fall 2013. The 260,338-square-foot campus, 10800 N. 140th E. Ave., will offer daytime and evening classes for adults and high school students. Neighborhood Coordinator Jerry Fowler, above left, has seen neighborhood activity keep pace with Owasso’s steady growth. Since the Strong Neighborhood Initiative first formed in 2008, the program has grown to include 29 registered homeowner and volunteer associations, which represents 5,900 area households.

Owasso’s outlook for the New Year appears bright.
In the coming months, Owasso residents will see the completion of Tulsa Tech’s newest campus. Administrators expect to move into the site in March.

The 260,338-square-foot campus, 10800 N. 140th E. Ave., sits on 55 acres and cost $47.2 million. The school will offer daytime and evening classes for high school students and adults.

Programs to be offered include digital electronics, business management/entrepreneurship, event, entertainment and tourism management, renewable energy, and geospatial information technology.

However, school administrators are “still looking at creating some new and exciting programs for adults and high school ages,” says Complex Director Kent Inouye. “We are still getting the pulse of what’s best for our clients in the community.”

A portion of the campus will be leased to Tulsa Community College, a new practice for Tulsa Tech. This will allow for added options to graduating students.

The campus also features space for instructional learning plus a large conference center.

“Tulsa Tech is unique in that it trains on the job,” Inouye says. “We will be able to utilize actual meetings and conferences held in the center to teach students.”
Classes begin in the fall 2013.

Education growth is not the only expansion residents are noticing.

Sam’s Club recently broke ground at the corner of 96th Street North and 129th East Avenue. It will open in a year, says Economic Development Director Chelsea Levo, and more restaurants will be coming in the future to fill up that development.

In addition, a full-service nursing facility, Senior Suites, is under construction south of St. John Owasso medical campus, and, in early 2013, Ashley Furniture will move into the Smith Farm Market.

As Owasso continues its growth, city officials and residents are working to maintain local neighborhoods.

The Strong Neighborhood Initiative () was created in 2008 as a way to encourage the formation of neighborhood groups and communication between neighbors. But the program has made big strides since its formation, says Neighborhood Coordinator Jerry Fowler.

The program currently has 29 registered homeowner associations and volunteer neighborhood associations, which equal 5,900 households that are represented throughout the community.

“What we see over time happening in other communities is that neighborhoods start to deteriorate and property values decrease,” Fowler says. “Therefore, people don’t move there, and businesses don’t want to come there. We want to prevent our community from falling into that problem.”

Since the initiative began, other programs have been created.

The sign topper program provides neighborhoods with identifying signs, which “provide neighborhoods with an identity and community pride,” Fowler says.

The grant program provides grants up to $1,000 for clean-up and beautifying projects and other neighborhood needs. On Jan. 26, Fowler will lead a Neighborhood Grant Workshop for neighborhood groups who are planning future projects.

The alert neighborhood program partners neighborhoods and the with the Owasso police department to address crime issues.

Owasso C.A.R.E.S. (Community And Residents Encourage Service) focuses on neighborhood improvements. Two days per year volunteers paint fire hydrants and bridge railings, pick up trash, and haul debris. April 27 and Sept. 21 are the 2013 service dates.

The city volunteer program encourages volunteer community service to improve city facilities and parks.

The initiative also coordinates annual neighborhood block parties, with the last two years having the highest levels of participation. This year’s block parties are scheduled for Sept. 7.

On April 13, there will be a Neighborhood Leadership Conference, which will bring neighborhood leaders together to share ideas.

Fowler expects to see a vote in early 2013 to continue how is funded, which is currently through the city’s hotel tax.

Clearly, the city is growing and residents and city officials are doing their part to embrace the growth.

“I have seen the impact of residents seeing they can make a difference,” says Fowler. “We don’t want to wake up one day to Owasso not being what we want it to be. We need to protect the investment residents and businesses have made in the community. We are creating a legacy.”

Updated 01-13-2013

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