By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
KELSY LORIN TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
City Manager Rodney Ray recently presented the State of the City Address during the Owasso Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Bailey Medical Center.
Rodney Ray has enjoyed living in and serving the community of Owasso as city manager. The most important goal that he has developed is to eliminate obstacles that prevent residents from having the best possible quality of life.
Businesses in the area have helped shape Owasso into the community that it is today. “Area businesses are receiving the best return on investments and have provided a shopping destination for visitors. Over 70 percent of every dollar is spent in the community by individuals who do not live here. This has truly set Owasso apart.” Ray continues, “Business leaders have had the will, courage and drive to invest in this community and for that, we are grateful.”
With a steady increase in population, Ray feels that Owasso will provide an ideal place for both young and old to call home. “We are leading the pack in terms of growth when compared to similar communities. It is very important that Owasso remains attractive for all ages but especially for young professionals. They are, after all, going to inherit this city and continue our effort to make it great.”
City leaders hope to continue to create a community where families can grow and thrive. On this note, quality of life has been a key point of conversation on a daily basis. Amenities have been established throughout the area and will continually be added on to and maintained. “New parks will be created and trails will be blazed.”
With the future in mind, Ray has worked with fellow city leaders to make improvements to the most basic of needs that residents have. Most recently, $8 million was invested in water upgrades that will positively affect the health of families for generations.
Ray also notes that fire protection services for the City of Owasso have improved from a Class Six to a Class Four. Rated by Insurance Services Office, Inc. and known as the Public Protection Classification Program, the ratings are assigned based on a community’s fire protection effort.
The classification helps a community to evaluate and improve upon fire protection services. The Owasso Fire Department has worked hard to lower the rating and plans to meet the Class One standards. “Today, the new rating will result in a $5 million reduction in insurance rates for citizens.”
One of the most anticipated projects is underway in the area. As Owasso continues to grow, Highway 169 has become a challenge for residents. Early mornings and late afternoons have brought traffic to a standstill along the corridor. Two additional lanes will ensure a route that will better serve residents for many years to come. “So far, $22 million dollars have been invested in the project. This December, another $50 million will bring the project all the way to the 116th Street Exit.”
In addition, the often-busy 86th Street will be widened to Memorial Road. Once complete, phase two of the project will continue to Highway 75. This will provide another convenient way for individuals to reach a major highway.
The City of Owasso has a future that is full of possibilities and a past that has built a strong foundation for today. “This community is positioned to dream the dream and then build it. We should continue to think to the future and what we can create 200 years from now.”
For more information, visit www.cityofowasso.com or call (918) 376-1500.