By DAVID JONES
PROFESSIONAL PROTECTION: Owasso’s new fire station has opened in May along North 145th East Avenue, about a half mile north of 96th Street. The Owasso Fire Department’s new station was originally slated to open on Dec.14 but was delayed due to the December ice storms and problems with the floor. Standing at the front door are Owasso’s Fire Chief Bradd Clark with two colleagues.
DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers
Speaking before the Owasso Chamber of Commerce, Owasso City Manager Rodney Ray noted growth in almost every desirable area. Where once Owasso sent its workers to Tulsa to find jobs, now the bulk of residential growth in the city comes from Tulsa. Almost 65 percent of the new Owasso residents come from Tulsa and 25 percent from out of state.
People looking for a high quality of life and the environment, he said, are finding it in Owasso. Over the past 10 years, 4,500 new homes have been built in the city and more are on the way in such communities as the massive Stone Canyon project.
In that decade, he said 9,248,326 square feet of residential space has been added to the city along with 4,294,822 square feet of commercial growth. He added that builders have told him they believe the pace will be sustained through the next 7-9 years.
He acknowledged the need for a financially healthy Tulsa as the base of an area that now has such fast-growing communities as Jenks, Bixby and Broken Arrow. Owasso, he said, should be a major contributor to the Tulsa area economic base.
He said that companies coming into Owasso are bringing with them high-paying jobs, giving people much more disposable income.
He gave credit for much of the city’s growth to the new medical facilities at St. John-Owasso and the Bailey Medical Center. He said that ambulances, which once too as long as 45 minutes to make it from Owasso to a Tulsa hospital, can now make the run to competent medical care in a few minutes. He also noted that some Tulsans are opting for the Owasso emergency rooms because they can get help so much quicker that the extra time on the ride is more than compensated by the speed patients receive when they arrive.
He had high praise for Owasso’s law enforcement personnel, noting that while the last decade has seen a 70 percent increase in population, it has seen a 6 percent decline in the crime index.
There are still problems to be addressed, he told the Chamber. Among the things he wants to attack is the sale of alcohol to underage drinkers.
But by and large, Ray said, the state of Owasso is very solid indeed.