BA State of the City details city's potential

Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 19:44:51-05

After spending nearly 90 days on the job, Broken Arrow's new city manager delivered his first State of the City address Wednesday afternoon. 

He said new businesses continue to open up, bringing more and more jobs to Broken Arrow. He also highlighted the Rose District, which has developed into BA's downtown area. He stressed the importance of the Rose District being the city's main hub now, and in the future.

Business growth has led to an increase in sales tax revenue. More than 75 percent of the city's income comes from sales tax. Spurgeon reported Wednesday that sales tax revenue is up four percent.

"What I'm going to be focused on is implementing long range plans that will help maintain that outstanding foundation and even build upon it," he said. 

This past June, running store Fleet Feet joined the growth, opening a new location on the south end of the Rose District. Amy Smith works at the new location. She said since opening, Fleet Feet has been attracting new customers, who are now bringing business to Broken Arrow.

"It has turned into a lot of people that are from the outer edges of Tulsa, a little bit more of the rural areas, who didn't want to go down to 61st and Yale, or down to the Blue Dome," Amy Smith said. 

It is a familiar story in the Rose District and around the rest of the city. 

Down the street from Fleet Feet, lifelong Broken Arrow resident Ben Buie opened two restaurants this past fall. Franklin's is a bar and restaurant next door to Toast.

Buie said people in Broken Arrow are hungry for new businesses and restaurants, which led to very positive response even before he opened for business. 

"Even when we were doing our build out, they were looking through the windows and wondering what was going on and really see what was coming up," Buie said. 

The Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce reported Wednesday that new businesses are also transforming the city. In the past, some might have called it a bedroom community, but now many people are coming to BA to work.

A new job is what brought Smith from Tulsa to Fleet Feet's new location.

"Broken Arrow is growing and I really didn't think about working out here until now," she said. 

The chamber's CEO Wes Smithwick said Broken Arrow is also attracting new residents to fill jobs outside of retail and restaurants. 

"Particularly in aerospace and advanced manufacturing," Chamber CEO Wes Smithwick said.  "This year we have added over 500 jobs. Many of them paying in excess of 80 thousand dollars per year. We are no longer a bedroom community. We are an employment base in the Tulsa area metro."

During his state of the city address, Spurgeon also thanked voters for approving the recently passed Vision 2025 sales tax extension. He said the extension will let city leaders focus on the two most important services they provide, streets and public safety. Spurgeon said in the next year residents should begin seeing improvements in those areas. 

After thanking voters and residents for approving Vision 2025, he added that there needs to be better communication between residents and the city. He said when residents contact city departments with concerns or requests, there needs to be quicker and more transparent responses. 

He also highlighted the needed to create long range plans for utilities and maintaining a reliable water system for the city.