Sand Springs Police working on 2019-2020 Community Policing Plan

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Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter spoke about the department’s 2019 Community Policing Plan and took public comment at Monday evening’s regular City Council Meeting.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the SSPD has adopted a revised policing plan, and the department received an international award for their work last year. The department will weigh public and City Council suggestions/concerns and adjust their policing plan annually to address the ever-changing community needs.

One change coming to the department in the coming year is that officers will be allowed to have visible tattoos. “We’ve turned away some probably very good applicants because they had visible tattoos,” said Carter. The department recently ran a Facebook poll and found that 93% of respondents have no problem with officers showing tattoos.

The department will also have mandatory autism training for all officers over the next year. “Sometimes when you have a juvenile, or even an adult who suffers from autism, sometimes their behavior can be misinterpreted by a police officer,” said Carter. “That’s led to some bad things in the United States. We want to avoid that.”

Officers recently went through Critical Incident Inoculation with a psychiatrist to help them avoid PTSD and depression. New business cards will be also issued for all officers with a complaint/compliment space on one side of the card.

In other news:

City Council unanimously approved the sale of $6,500,000 in bonds at Monday evening’s regular meeting. Sand Springs citizens approved the bonds in November of 2017 to provide for economic development, aesthetic improvements, park enhancements, public safety, street overlays, and other infrastructure projects.

Council unanimously voted to authorize the pursuit of a BUILD Grant Application from the U.S. Department of Transportation in partnership with OmniTrax. The City and OmniTrax hope to use the grant to improve extensive freight railway conditions and locations throughout the City. The grant would be an 80/20 matching grant up to $25 million.

The BUILD funds could be used to remove railway along Main Street and the crossing at the intersection of Morrow and Main, as well as to expand Main Street to three lanes. It could also be used for constructing a roadway over the Arkansas River levee, upgrades to Broad Street, and railroad upgrades and improvements along Charles Page Boulevard.

Council unanimously approved dilapidation public nuisance findings against 403 North Lincoln Avenue.

Council unanimously approved a $10,000 transfer of funds related to the upcoming 2019 Community Development Block Grant Water Line Replacement Project. The City will be replacing approximately 980 linear feet of 4-inch cast iron water line with 8-inch PVC water line along Lincoln Avenue from 4th Street to 6th Street.

Council unanimously approved the Final Plat for Stone Villa Second Phase I. The subdivision will consist of 45 lots on 9.5 acres south of 51st Street between Bahama Avenue and South 129th West Avenue. Council also approved a Public Utility Easement for the location of landscaping, fencing, and signage along the perimeter of the subdivision.

Councilman Brian Jackson presented a request to have a Masonic Cornerstone installed on the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. The motion died at a previous Council meeting after concerns were raised about the cost of installation. Since then the Masonic Lodge has volunteered to cover the costs, but the motion died once again. Jackson and Patty Dixon voted yea; Phil Nollan, Beau Wilson, Mike Burdge voted nay; Jim Spoon and Christine Hamner were absent.

Council unanimously approved an ordinance declaring various items in the City and Police Department’s possession as surplus, authorizing the destruction of some items and the auction of others.

Council unanimously approved the creation of a Public Utility Easement at Keystone Ancient Forest to deliver water and electric utilities to a planned Visitors Center.

Council unanimously approved a $40,000 change order regarding parking lot additions and infrastructure improvements at the Case Community Park splash pad and baseball facilities.

Council unanimously approved the annexation of a vacant property owned by the City along the State Highway 97 right-of-way to Pond Drive.

Council unanimously approved the closing of a 20 ft. wide easement and right of way access in the Oakbridge Addition. By closing the easement it will allow a neighboring property to construct a single-family residence over the common lot line.

Jim Spoon elected Sand Springs Mayor, Patty Dixon Vice-Mayor

Jim Spoon was elected as Mayor of Sand Springs at Monday evening’s City Council meeting, and Patty Dixon was elected as Vice-Mayor. The mostly ceremonial positions are elected from within the Council ranks, and none of the Council positions are paid.

Prior to the Mayoral elections, Dixon and outgoing Vice Mayor Phil Nollan were administered the Oath of Office for a new three-year term. Dixon won a February election for the Ward 2 seat 64 votes to 8, while Nollan ran unopposed.

Outgoing Mayor Mike Burdge decided to take a break from Mayoral duties. He has been on City Council since 1996, has served thirteen terms as Mayor, and six terms as Vice-Mayor.

The electoral process is a simple “yea” or “nay” vote on a single nominated candidate at a time. Council members aren’t allowed to discuss their potential votes outside of meetings, and aren’t allowed to take any informal polls of their peers.

Spoon was nominated to replace Burdge by Councilman Beau Wilson. Spoon has held the At-Large Council position since 2015. He has owned the Spoon Drug pharmaceutical chain for forty years, and is a twenty-year member of the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy, appointed by multiple State Governors. He has previously served on the Sand Springs Board of Education, and was a founding member of the Sand Springs Education Foundation.

Spoon was elected six votes to one, with Nollan casting the sole “no” vote. Nollan later stated he was confused over the electoral process and expressed regret for his vote against Spoon.

Following Spoon’s nomination, Dixon addressed the Council regarding her opinions on the electoral process. Dixon stated she would like to see any Council members interested in being mayor or vice-mayor give a list of credentials and qualifications prior to any nominations in the future. She also gave her own background and expressed her willingness to serve in a more executive position.

Dixon previously held a Council position from 1990 to 1996, and returned to office in 2016. She has experience on the Parks Advisory Board, Museum Association, HEAL Committee, Sertoma Club, and Oklahoma Municipal League. She is retired from the Tulsa County Parks Department and co-owns Dixon Auto Glass with her husband. She is also heavily involved in the Sand Springs Community Theater.

Following Spoon’s election, Councilman Brian Jackson nominated Christine Hamner for Vice-Mayor, but Hamner declined the nomination and Jackson instead nominated Dixon. Dixon was unanimously elected to the position.

In Other News:

Daniel Bradley was presented with the 2019 John M. Hess Municipal Award for Outstanding Citizenship. Click here for more information.

Outgoing Mayor Mike Burdge proclaimed Municipal Clerks Week in appreciation of City Clerk Janice L. Almy and Deputy City Clerk Kristin S. Johnston.

A proposal by Jackson died without a second. Jackson proposed the instillation of a Masonic Cornerstone at the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. The stone would have cost between $500-$1000 to install and would have enshrined the names of various City officials on the front of the building.

City Council approves measures related to infrastructure and development

Sand Springs City Manager Elizabeth Gray provided an update on the Sheffield Crossing Development Infrastructure Construction project at Monday evening’s City Council meeting.

The City purchased 18 acres of Highway 97 frontage from OmniTrax in December of 2017, on the former site of the Sheffield Steel Mill, with the intent of constructing a commercial development. City leaders hope to attract a large lumber/hardware store as an anchor for the Sheffield Crossing development.

Craig & Keithline Inc. has developed the initial infrastructure package, including an entry roadway, traffic signals, and storm and water facilities.

Two new traffic signals will be installed on Highway 97 as part of the project. One will be located at the entrance to Sheffield Crossing, and one will be located at the future intersection of the Main Street expansion. That intersection will join Main Street and Highway 97 with the new road planned along the top of the levee in Case Community Park.

Council approved a resolution waiving competitive bidding for certain traffic signal components for the development. The project deadline has already been pushed and the City hopes to save a few weeks on the delivery and installation of the traffic signal poles by purchasing them directly.

Gray commented that the massive piles of demolition rubble currently on the site will be used as filler within the development.

A representative from the City financial department gave an update on capital projects for fiscal year 2019-2020. The Capital Projects Fund will see an increase of $9.6 million in new funding, allocated to the following projects…

  • $50,000 Golf Course Pond Improvements

  • $15,000 Downtown Tree and Sidewalk Replacements

  • $10,000 River West ROW Mowing Contract

  • $100,000 Municipal Building Remodel - Furnishings & Equipment

  • $16,000 Municipal Building Badge System Replacement

  • $7,000 Sheffield Crossing Design Costs

  • $100,000 Traffic Signal Upgrades (Highway 97 Coordination Timing)

  • $25,000 Roadway Striping

  • $10,000 Project Design Assistance

  • $30,000 Speed Humps

  • $400,000 Sheffield Crossing Boulevard

  • $780,000 Street Overlays

  • $550,000 HWY 97T Rehab (Design and Construction)

  • $435,000 81st Weset Avenue Trail Connector (Design and Construction)

  • $100,000 Pratt Interceptor (32nd Street)

  • $20,000 Broadway WL Replacement (Main to Washington)

  • $150,000 WTP Improvements

  • $150,000 Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements (Pumps)

  • $318,000 Highway 97 12” Water Ling

  • $850,000 Sheffield Crossing Water & Wastewater Infrastructure

  • $250,000 SRWCS One-Way Tank

  • $300,000 Charles Page Water BPS Upgrade

  • $300,000 East 41st Street Water BPS Upgrade

  • $150,000 Wastewater Treatment Plant VFD Upgrade

  • $50,000 Arc Flash Electrical Safety Improvements (SRWCS, WTP, WWTP)

  • $250,000 Diamondhead Tank Rehab

  • $30,000 Airport Construction Fund

  • $20,000 Fueling Thermal Upgrades

  • $15,000 Ray Brown Park Stormwater Detention

  • $1.35 million Sheffield Crossing Stormwater Infrastructure

  • $41,000 Golf Course Improvements

  • $140,000 New police vehicles

  • $50,000 Downtown Street Overlays

  • $75,500 Case Park Levee Roadway

  • $250,000 Golf Course Renovations

In other news:

SEE RELATED: City Council approves permits for two new Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Council approved a resolution declaring the City’s intent to apply for a Community Development Block Grant from Tulsa County Community Development Urban County funds. The City expects to be allocated approximately $94,748 which will be used for a water line replacement project from 4th Street through 6th Street on Lincoln Avenue. The City will be replacing 980 linear feet of 4” cast iron line with 8” PVC line.

One of the conditions for receiving CDBG funds is that recipients must implement an action to further fair housing. To comply, Council unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming April 2019 as Fair Housing Month.

Council unanimously approved $46,769 for the purchase of park amenities from Happy Playgrounds. The funds will provide for five park benches, 30 trash can sets, and 14 picnic tables for Case Park. $6,354 will come from the existing Case Park Project fund, and $40,415 will come from the remaining 2014 GO Bond funds.

Council unanimously approved a resolution affirming Dilapidation Public Nuisance administrative hearing findings for buildings at 104 North Franklin Avenue, 810 1/2 North Franklin Avenue, 313 North Industrial Avenue, and 704 1/2 North Washington Avenue. The resolution authorizes the City to demolish the buildings on or after May 13, 2019 at the expense of the property owner.

Council unanimously approved an expenditure of $5,250 to We B Trees for stump grinding and the planting of five trees in the downtown Triangle District. The funds will be taken from the General Fund Economic Development-Marketing budget.

Council unanimously approved the Final Plat for a single-family gated subdivision on nine acres South of 51st Street and East of Skylane Drive. The Villas at Stone Creek Estates will include 39 lots on two blocks.

Council unanimously approved the appointment of Justin Tockey to the Sand Springs Development Authority for an unexpired term to July 2021. Tockey is a Charles Page High School graduate and U.S. Navy veteran. He has experience as a Development Officer for a Methodist non-profit and is currently pursuing a certification in Financial Planning. He is an active member of the Sand Springs Rotary Club, and has previously participated in the Sertoma Club and the American Legion.

Council unanimously approved the selection of Daniel Bradley as the 2019 recipient of the John M. Hess Municipal Award for Outstanding Citizenship. Bradley retired in 2018 after 38 years with the City. He spend 35 years at the Police Department, working his way up to Chief of Police before transitioning to Assistant City Manager. The award has been presented annually since 2003.

Council unanimously approved an amendment to a Franchise Agreement with CoxCom, LLC for E-911 services. The City has a non-exclusive franchise agreement with Cox for cable services, and the City collects a 5% franchise fee of approximately $220,000 per year. The amendment will provide an extension to the existing agreement for an additional five years.

Council unanimously approved the use of public funds for the following:

  • $2,100 for participation in the Oklahoma Municipal League Conference.

  • $1,310 for participation in the Mayors Council of Oklahoma.

  • $250 for participation in the OneVoice Day at the State Capitol.

  • $360 for participation in Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce Open Forums.

  • $250 for participation in Oklahoma Municipal League Day at the Capitol.

  • $1,500 for participation in the Mayoral Council of Oklahoma Board Meetings in Oklahoma City.

  • $3,500 for participation in the Tulsa Metro Chamber Washington D.C. Fly-In.

  • $2,200 to cover administrative expenses for Council/Administrative Workshops and the City Budget Fair.

  • $800 to cover City Manager/City Council Lunch Meetings.

  • $2,000 for membership in the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce.

  • $3,000 for membership in the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce.

  • $535 for membership in the Homebuilders Association.

  • $4,000 for membership in the Indian Nations Council on Government Coalition of Tulsa Area Government.

  • $16,000 for membership in the Oklahoma Municipal League.

  • $500 for membership in the Mayoral Council of Oklahoma.

  • $1,000 for miscellaneous membership dues.

City Calendar:
3/30 Keystone Ancient Forest Open Hike Day
4/4-4/7 Sand Springs Community Theater presents - Aladdin
4/6 Keystone Ancient Forest Hike With Your Dog Day
4/13 30th Annual Sand Springs Herbal Affair and Festival
5/3 Friday Flicks Outdoor Movies - The Incredibles 2
5/3-5/4 9th Annual OK 100-Mile Yard Sale Tour

City Council approves permits for two new Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Sand Springs City Council unanimously approved four Special Use Permits for medical marijuana facilities at their Monday evening meeting.

Council approved permits for a Cultivation Facility, a Processing Facility, and a Dispensary at 200 East Morrow Road. LightHeart Farms plans to open sometime in April in the building that formerly housed the historic Morrow Gill lumber yard.

Council also approved a permit for Oklahoma Harvest Health to open a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in the Wellston Park industrial center at 1104 West Wekiwa Road. In November Council approved a growing facility at the same location.

Council previously approved a slate of marijuana-related SUPs at their January meeting. Dr. Cannabis, LLC was approved for a cultivation facility and a dispensary at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite B3. Therapeutic Herbal Care, LLC was approved to open a dispensary at 1126 E. Charles Page Blvd. The Herbin’ Joint was approved to open a dispensary at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite A2.

Sand Springs voters overwhelmingly approve School Bond Propositions

Voters in the Sand Springs Public School District overwhelmingly voiced their support for a pair of general obligation bond measures Tuesday.

Proposition No. 1, totaling $32.85 million, passed with 92.83% in favor. 1,774 voted yes with only 137 against.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million passed with 91.43% in favor to provide for new school buses. The measure received 1,749 “yes” votes and 164 “no” votes.

The new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off, so the millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase.

Totaling more than $34 million, the two measures will provide funding for a number of projects, most notably the construction of a new freshman wing on the Charles Page High School campus.

The new $14.28 million building will conjoin with the high school through the existing lobby, but will keep the freshmen separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of the day. Currently more than 75% of Central Ninth Grade Center are shuttled from downtown to the high school every day for athletics and other activities.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

Sand Springs to vote on new school bond projects Tuesday, including new Ninth Grade Center

Sandites will take to the polls Tuesday to voice their support or opposition of a nearly $33 million bond proposal.

The Sand Springs Public School District is hoping to pass two General Obligation Bond Propositions that would provide funding for a number of projects, most notably a new Ninth Grade Center and STEM Academy.

The current Ninth Grade Center is located at 14 West 4th Street in downtown Sand Springs. It is the oldest building in the district and is the former site of Sand Springs High School. According to district officials, more than 75% of freshmen are shuttled to the high school campus every day for classes, athletics, and other activities.

The district hopes to spend $14.28 million on a new Ninth Grade Center on the campus of Charles Page High School. The building would be partly connected to the High School through the existing lobby, but would otherwise keep the younger students separate from the upperclassmen for the majority of their day.

The new wing would also include several classrooms dedicated to the district’s STEM Initiative, enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum.

$7.2 million will go to technology enhancements throughout the district. Computer software systems will be updated to protect student data and provide mobile tech support, and WiFi will be improved and expanded throughout the district.

$825,000 will go to the district’s thriving athletic programs. Memorial Stadium will get new turf, the baseball and softball fields will be regraded, and wrestling mats and other athletic equipment will also be purchased.

Proposition No. 1 will total $32.85 million. Other Proposition No. 1 projects include:

  • New gymnasium/storm shelter at Angus Valley Elementary.

  • Bleachers for Garfield Elementary gymnasium.

  • Electrical upgrades at Limestone Elementary.

  • Playground upgrades at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy.

  • Playground equipment for Early Childhood Education Center.

  • ADA Accessible bathroom at Pratt Elementary.

  • Removal of louvers on front windows at Clyde Boyd Middle School.

  • Kitchen equipment at all district sites.

  • Band uniforms and elementary music equipment.

  • Additional space for Drama Department.

  • Sound system upgrades to auditoriums and Ed Dubie Field House.

  • District HVAC and roofing maintenance.

  • Books and digital curriculum for all sites.

  • Media Center materials.

  • Painting, pavement, electrical, and plumbing maintenance.

A second proposition totaling $1.3 million will also be on the ballot to provide for new school buses.

If the measures pass, the new bonds won’t be sold until existing bonds are paid off. The millage rate will remain the same and property taxes will not increase. However, Sand Springs property taxes will drop in the near future if voters choose not to approve the measures.

Sand Springs City Council approves permits for city's first marijuana dispensaries

Police Chief Mike Carter was recognized for 25 years of service at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Medical Marijuana took center stage at Monday night’s Sand Springs City Council meeting.

Specific Use Permits (SUPs) were approved for a medical marijuana cultivation facility, as well as a dispensary, owned by Dr. Cannabis, LLC at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite B3. An SUP was also granted to Therapeutic Herbal Care, LLC to open a dispensary at 1126 E. Charles Page Blvd.

Council denied an SUP to David Dietrich for the purpose of opening a cultivation facility at 15208 W. Weaver Road. The facility would have been located in a predominately residential area, and numerous neighbors requested that Council deny the permit. At a recent Planning Commission meeting, nearby residents cited concerns about the effect that a cultivation facility would have on the neighborhood’s water pressure.

Nature’s Candy Dispensary was subject of discussion surrounding their name. The organization agreed to legally do business as Nature’s Apothecary at a Planning Commission meeting earlier this month, due to objections to the use of the word “candy” in regards to a medicinal substance. New objections were raised by Councilman Jim Spoon to the use of the word “apothecary.” According to Spoon, businesses dealing in marijuana are banned from using the word “apothecary” by the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy. A motion was approved to award an SUP to the business on conditions that they not use any terms relating to pharmacy or candy. The dispensary will be located at 3417 S. 113th W. Ave., Suite A2.

In other news:

Oklahoma Municipal League representative Pam Polk presented a certificate to Police Chief Mike Carter in recognition of 25 years of service. Fleet Technician Michael O’Dell was not present, but will also be receiving the award.

Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution of support for the Sand Springs Public Schools’ General Obligation Bond Propositions 1 & 2. The propositions total $32,850,000 and will provide funding for transportation equipment and the construction of a new Ninth Grade Center and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Academy on the grounds of Charles Page High School. The measures will go to a vote of the people on March 5th.

Council unanimously voted to affirm dilapidation public nuisance hearing findings for a fire-damaged residential building at 405 West 7th Street.

Council unanimously voted to approve a Beautification Wall project at the City’s Water Treatment Plant on the corner of Highway 97 and Morrow Road. The funding for the project was passed by voters as a G.O. Bond measure in November of 2017. Council awarded the construction project to Crossland Construction Company, Inc. in the amount of $1,113,807.60. Council also awarded an administration and inspection contract to Keithline Engineering Group, PLLC in the amount of $98,118.87.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing the City of Sand Springs Police Department to remove individuals from private and public properties, without involving the property owner. The measure gives property owners the ability to inform the department of individuals banned from their property, and authorizes officers to remove that individual without first establishing contact with the property owner. This also includes nonspecific entities, such as bans on loitering or semi truck parking.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing the City Manager to determine individual salaries.

Council approved a $250,000.00 Title Sponsorship agreement with the Sharna and Irvin Frank Foundation, including naming rights and expanded hours with paid staff at the Keystone Ancient Forest visitors’ center. Voters approved funding for construction of a visitors’ center in a 2017 G.O. Bond election, but the sponsorship agreement will provide additional funding for increased visitors hours and a larger facility.

Council approved $100,322.00 for the purchase and instillation of communication equipment for the Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center.

Council approved granting an easement to OmniTrax for railroad property abutting the upcoming Main Street project in downtown. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be bidding the project in February of this year, with construction set to begin soon after. Main Street will be rebuilt from 1st Street south to its current terminus, with a new section of road connecting Main Street west to Highway 97. A new frontage road will also be built to connect Main Street to the Lincoln Avenue On-Ramp onto Highway 412.

OmniTrax operates the Sand Springs Railway, which runs railways across Main Street, Morrow Road, and Highway 97. The easement will allow the railway to continue normal operations throughout the construction project.

Sand Springs Progress Report

Construction continues on various City projects around Sand Springs. Here are some recent photos of the progress.

Pratt Civitan Park is receiving a restroom building at 213 West 44th Street. Pratt Civitan is home to the only splash pad on the south side of Sand Springs, as well as swings, tennis and basketball courts. A speed hump is also planned for 44th Street in front of the park.

The biggest work site lies in the area of Sheffield Crossing. The City is rebuilding Morrow Road and adding a center turn lane to accommodate the increased traffic expected from the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. Both the road and the facilities will be completed this spring. The center will house municipal jail and courts, a police station, and a fire department.

A new parking lot has been recently completed in Case Community Park at the Rotary Super Splash Pad. The parking lot is located on the other side of the creek from the previous unpaved parking area. A paved parking lot is also in progress at the Jerry Adair Baseball Complex, and new concrete sidewalks have also been constructed.

Other projects on the horizon in Sand Springs include:

  • An observation platform above the tree canopy at the Keystone Ancient Forest.

  • A paved parking lot and visitor’s center at Keystone Ancient Forest.

  • Beautification efforts across the city.

  • A new playground at Angus Valley Park.

  • Main Street will be rebuilt from First Street south to its current terminus at 404 South Main Street. The road will also be extended west to a new intersection at Highway 97.

  • A new frontage road connecting Main Street to the Highway 412 on-ramp at Lincoln Avenue.

  • A new roadway along the Arkansas River levee from Highway 97 west into Case Community Park.

  • The City also has eighteen acres of prime real estate in the Sheffield Crossing Development preserved to incentivize a hardware and lumber store.

Expedia names Sand Springs as Oklahoma's best getaway location

Sand Springs Lake Park in summer.

Sand Springs Lake Park in summer.

Expedia.com, one of the nation’s leading travel websites, has named Sand Springs as the “Best Place To Escape To” in the State of Oklahoma in a recent travel blog.

California-based traveler Lily Rogers recently published the article, titled “Best Place To Escape To In Every State.”

“From quaint small towns to quiet nature preserves, this country is full of places to escape to,” says Rogers. Sand Springs has both, with a homey downtown shopping district and the largest municipally-owned nature preserve in the state.

Rogers references the Keystone Lake, Keystone Ancient Forest, and Shell Lake as reasons for her selection of Sand Springs as the best getaway in Oklahoma.

Keystone Ancient Forest is Sand Springs’s best-kept secret. The 1,360 acre park features 300-year-old post oaks and 500-year-old cedars with wildlife, beautiful scenery, and 4.4 miles of hiking trails. Famed Sleepy Hollow author and explorer Irving Washington even crossed through the area in 1832 and wrote extensively of its beauty and rugged terrain in his journals.

The City of Sand Springs recently passed a general obligation bond measure that will help to fund a visitor’s center and a watch tower that will elevate visitors above the forest canopy in the near future.

The park is only open to visitors on select Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in order to keep the area pristine. Hike With Your Dog days are also scheduled throughout the year, and the forest’s Fourth Annual Ancient Trail Trek is set for February 9th, featuring a 5K, 10K, and fun run.

The Ancient Forest isn’t the only unique natural site in Sand Springs. Visitors can also fish and boat on the Keystone Lake, Shell Lake, and the Arkansas River. Bald Eagles are known to nest at the White Water Off-Road Vehicle Park beneath the Keystone Dam, as well as in Case Community Park and other areas along the Arkansas River.

Two of the most historic sites in Sand Springs are the Sand Springs Lake and Centennial Park on Katy Trail. Centennial Park is the home of the sandy springs from which the town draws its name, and the lake park was once a weekend swimming destination for Tulsa-area families from the 1920s through 1950s. Now it is a quaint fishing hole with ADA-friendly walking trails.

Visitors have numerous lodging options in Sand Springs, including modern downtown hotels near the historic Triangle District, riverside RV parks, cabins at the Osage Forest of Peace, and the PostOak Lodge with its zip lines, disc golf, fishing, hiking, and more.

Art connoisseurs will enjoy the Shiny Happy Blue Dog exhibit by George Rodrigue, currently making its Oklahoma debut at the Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum, and numerous vibrant murals around the town. The Rodrigue exhibit will be on display through February, and numerous other events are on the horizon, guaranteed to give visitors a great time.

Sand Springs Event Calendar:

February 3rd - Fourth Annual Ancient Trail Trek
April 13th - Thirtieth Annual Herbal Affair & Festival
May 4th-5th - 100 Mile Yard Sale
May 10th - Third Annual Unity Praise concert
May 30th - June 1st - Eighth Annual Chillin & Grillin Festival
June - 29th Annual Kids’ Free Fishing Derby
June - Eighth Annual Big Blast Fireworks Show & Kids Fun Fest
June - Tenth Annual EuroMotor Extravaganza
July 3rd - Third Annual Riverfest and Sertoma Fireworks Show
September 2nd - 24th Annual Great Raft Race
October - Ninth Annual Boo on Broadway
November through December - Snapped In Sand Springs
November - Tenth Annual 2 Angels Toy Run
November - Third Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 6th-8th - Second Annual Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration

To view the complete list of Best Places to Escape To, visit Expedia.com.

4th Annual Ancient Trail Trek to benefit Keystone Ancient Forest Visitors Center

Ancient Trail Trek Registration Open! Natural Trail Races Benefit the Keystone Ancient Forest Preserve! Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs Parks and Recreation Department and TATUR (Tulsa Area Trails and Ultra Runners) invite runners of all ages to the magnificent Keystone Ancient Forest for the 4th Annual Ancient Trail Trek! This year's event is Saturday, February 9, 2019 with gates opening at 7:00 a.m. and the first race at 8:00 a.m.

Event registration and information can be found at the City’s website at www.sandspringsok.org. Use the Explore/ Keystone Ancient Forest/ Ancient Trail Trek drop down menus to access the registration site. Registration is online only, and runners must register before the midnight deadline on February 7, 2019.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the beautiful 1,400-acre crosstimbers nature preserve, including the planned visitor center, which is currently in design.

This year's Ancient Fun Run offers a 5K, 10K and even an 8-mile run for both adults and children. The varied courses will meander over grassy trail portions, bare soil and rock. Routes will challenge runners with some downhill glides and moderate uphill challenges! Runners can glimpse wintertime views of Keystone Lake below, and might even spot area wildlife along the course!

"We’ve partnered with the TATUR group again and so we’ll have the standard electronic timing devices for accuracy and convenience for runners,” stated Jeff Edwards, Parks Director for the City of Sand Springs. "We’ve got several great courses this year and feel we have one of the best trail running venues in Oklahoma."

The race fee (including registration) is $28.00 per runner without an event T-shirt, or $40.50 per runner with an event T-shirt. Gates will open at 7:00 a.m. on the day of the race, with the first race beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Park staff and members of the Keystone Ancient Forest Trail Guide (volunteer) group will be on site to help with water and hospitality after the race. Parking is on gravel and grassy areas with porta potty service. No pets allowed.

With proceeds from this year’s race, again going towards the Keystone Ancient Forest- this year’s event can help with the planned visitor center also! The concept for the forest’s new state of the art facility will be unveiled just weeks before the race event!

City Invites Local Businesses to Join at Tulsa Home and Garden Show

Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs is announcing its plans for the 2019 Tulsa Home and Garden show. This year the City is extending an invitation to Sand Springs retail businesses to join them during the show to promote the Sand Springs community- and their business! The annual home improvement event takes place March 7-10, at the Riverspirit Expo at the Expo Square Tulsa County Fairgrounds.

For more than a decade municipalities have reached out to area citizens during the Tulsa Home and Garden Show as a means to promote their community to area citizens by providing information about quality of life, new projects, services and more. This year, the City of Sand Springs wishes to expand on that approach by including a handful of local retailers.

“We’re excited to invite our partners in the retail business sector to invest a little time with us and work alongside city staff as we promote Sand Springs,” stated Grant Gerondale, Community Development Director for the City. “Sand Springs has so many unique retail outlets, each with their own great history of successful business service and great products.”

Interested businesses can apply at no cost; however, each business will be asked to provide one or more door prizes to be given away during a raffle drawing. Door prize winners will then be asked to visit each Sand Springs retailer later to redeem their prize.

Businesses will also be asked to help staff their display portion of the booth during an assigned segment of the Tulsa Home and Garden Show. Most volunteer opportunities for each business will last approximately 4-6 hours. To apply, simply email Grant Gerondale at grant@sandspringsok.org with your request for an application! Deadline to apply is January 31, 2019.

Bright Morning Farm holds ribbon cutting in Sand Springs

Bright Morning Farm in Sand Springs held a ribbon cutting recently at their new event barn. The 3,600 square foot event center is located on a 35-acre ranch just outside of Sand Springs City limits.

Bright Morning Farm has been hosting weddings, reunions, birthday parties, and other events for years, and the event center is the newest addition to the grounds. Originally a garage, the entire facility was renovated from the inside out to offer a rustic feel with modern conveniences.

The event center officially opened this past summer, but the farm used the ribbon cutting to celebrate their joining of the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce, as well as to offer a holiday open house.

Sand Springs Parks Dept. receives State honors for Riverfest celebration

Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs Parks staff received two statewide honors during the Oklahoma Recreation and Parks Society (ORPS) annual conference held in Norman, OK. Sand Springs Riverfest was cited an Award of Excellence by parks professionals in the state, one of only three such awards given out annually at the parks conference. Riverfest also earned an Award of Excellence for marketing from ORPS.

“We’re honored to represent the citizens of Sand Springs, not only in our traditional park work throughout the year, but also with the special events we create,” stated Jeff Edwards, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City. “We have a great staff who reach beyond their daily tasks to offer quality parks and recreation services in Northeast Oklahoma, and we’re very pleased to receive this honor.”

Riverfest was created by parks staff to celebrate the completion and dedication of the former River City Park into the new $6.2 million project known currently as Case Community Park. The park name change recognized Mike and Pat Case for their $2 million contribution toward Sand Springs’ largest Vision 2025 park project.

Sand Springs Riverfest took nearly a year of planning thanks to a large committee that included local businesses, school and city officials, church members, and more. The event was held in September of 2017 after raising nearly $30,000 for the park celebration.

A few highlights of the day included an appearance by Sand Springs racing legend Bennie “The Wizard” Osborn, who was the NHRA top fuel dragster world champion in 1967 and 1968. The OKC Thunder’s mascot, Rumble, made an entrance, and helped kick off a Thunder Cares new basketball court dedication and basketball camp for kids. There was an artistic Chalk-A-Thon sidewalk art-chalk contest. A few former cast members from the live outdoor production of Oklahoma performed a brief segment from the musical. The Charles Page High School marching band performed on stage before the Rogues Five took over, followed by local interactive DJ Morgan Ganem’s performance, which was choreographed with the grand finale fireworks display.

Sand Springs Riverfest was awarded state ORPS honors for its excellent use of private funds to create the event for citizens; the strong use of volunteers; utilizing creative marketing methods and offering a diverse number of activities for people during the event.

“Special events can be a struggle for any community and they can consume large amounts of resources,” stated Edwards. “The resources, funding, and commitments from local civic groups, businesses, churches and more launched Riverfest into an award winning quality event.”

For more information on the Sand Springs Parks and Recreation Department visit www.sandspringsok.org and follow them on Facebook.

ORPS was founded in 1956 to advance the parks and recreation profession and industry in Oklahoma. Annual conference attendees receive professional training, continuing education credits and more. For more information about ORPS visit: http://www.orps.us/

Sand Springs churches donate $4,000 for police and fire Christmas bonuses

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The Sand Springs Ministerial Alliance presented a $4,000 check to the City of Sand Springs at Monday night’s regular City Council meeting. The donation will be used for Christmas bonuses for City Firemen and Police Officers. HillSpring Associate Pastor Matt Barnett presented the check to Mayor Mike Burdge, Police Chief Mike Carter, and Fire Chief Mike Wood.

City Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing for the use of Municipal Reserve Funds for the advanced funding of various General Obligation Bond Projects. These accounts will be reimbursed following the bond sales.

Voters approved $12,165,000 in bond projects in November of 2017, but the City has only sold $3.5 million thus far in order to keep the millage rate under 13 mills.

In Other News:

Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing the Tulsa Metro Chamber OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda for 2019. Click here to read the agenda.

Council unanimously approved a Specific Use Permit for a medical marijuana growing facility at 1106 West Wekiwa Road.

Council unanimously approved a resolution affirming dilapidation public nuisance findings against properties at 11 West 35th Street, 418 North Grant Avenue, and 108 North Roosevelt Avenue. The buildings are slated for demolition on or after January 8.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford F-250 from Bill Knight Ford for Sand Springs Animal Welfare in the amount of $28,423.

Council unanimously approved a $34,709 payment to Aaron Fence Company for the replacement of 2,400 feet of fence at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Council unanimously approved a $45,750 payment to Garrow Construction for the replacement of 3,000 feet of deteriorated Campbell Creek Road water line.

Council unanimously approved a resolution adopting an investment policy for the City of Sand Springs and the Sand Springs Municipal Authority, providing clear guidance in regards to oversight, guidelines, and limitations of investments.

During the subsequent Municipal Authority meeting, Trustees unanimously approved the Shell Lake Dam Breach Plan, Revision 13.

Morrow Road widening project to begin November 26th

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Sections of Morrow Road in Sand Springs will be partially closed for reconstruction from Monday, November 26th through March 1st.

Morrow Road from Wilson Avenue (Highway 97) west to Broad Street will be completely rebuilt this winter to facilitate the additional traffic expected from the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. Crossland Heavy Contractors was awarded a $1.4 million construction contract for the project in September.

The 0.3 mile road is currently only two lanes with no shoulder and no turn lanes. It will be widened to three lanes and 39 feet across. Most of the stretch will have a center turn lane, but will transition into a 120-foot right-turn lane onto South 97. The existing curb and gutter along the southwest side of HWY97 will be removed and rebuilt to accompany the added lane.

A five-foot-wide sidewalk will run along the south side of the road and there will be two entrances into the new public safety center parking lot. The project will also require relocating the sanitary sewer main.

The Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center, named for a Sand Springs Vietnam War hero, will house the City’s relocated municipal courts, jail, 911 operations, police, and north-side fire station, all currently located in downtown.

Construction crews broke ground on the $10.7 million, 40,000 sq. ft. facility in April of 2018, and it is expected to be completed in March, 2019.

City Council accepts bids for Case Park parking lots and Keystone Forest visitor center designs

The Sand Springs City Council approved several measures relating to City parks and other capital improvement projects at their Monday evening meeting.

Council unanimously approved a contract with Studio 45 Architects relating to the Keystone Ancient Forest. The City will pay the company $40,000 to design a small visitor center at the forest preserve. The visitor center project was approved by voters as part of a 2017 general obligation bond package. The design phase is expected to be completed by Spring of 2019 and will then go to bid for construction.

Council also voted to approve a bid from R&L Construction in the amount of $473,911.00 for a paved parking lot expansion and new sidewalk at Case Community Park. The project will pave an existing 175-spot gravel parking lot at the Jerry Adair Baseball Park, and will add a 36-space lot at the Rotary Super Splash Pad. The project will also include curbs and guttering.

Council approved a six-year Capital Improvement Plan for Pogue Municipal Airport. The City plans to invest $3,830,000 in drainage improvements and taxiway rehabilitation.

Council approved a payment of $64,045.00 to Tim Mills Fence Company for a large section of white vinyl fencing installed along the Sand Springs Expressway.

Council approved a $30,100.00 expenditure to Mills Truck & Tractor Service Inc. for a storm pipe replacement project at the intersection of 2nd Street and Lincoln Avenue. The project is expected to take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete.

Council approved the purchase of 911 Police/Fire Dispatch Consoles for the Billie A. Hall Public Safety Facility in the amount of $49,166.00.

Council approved a resolution of Notice of Election for City Council Wards 1 & 2. Phil Nollan and Patty Dixon will be up for reelection in 2019. The filing period is set for December 3-5. The primary election, if needed, will be held on February 12, 2019. The general election, if needed, will be held on April 2nd.

Boulder Coffee opens in downtown Sand Springs Triangle District

Sand Springs couple Danielle and D.A. Myers celebrated the grand opening of their new coffee shop Saturday morning in the downtown Sand Springs Triangle District.

Boulder Coffee opened its doors at 8:00 a.m. and held a ribbon cutting ceremony with fellow business owners and the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce.

The shop is located at 118 North Main Street and shares its space with the Myers’s other businesses: Myer’s Marketing and We Are Sand Springs magazine.

Boulder offers coffee, espresso-based beverages, hot and iced teas, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, muffins, and Dippin Dots. Beverages sizes range from 10 oz to 16 oz with a $1.75-$4.25 price range. They also carry vanilla, caramel, mocha, and lavender flavored syrups.

The shop has an array of furniture and invites patrons to hang out and enjoy the free wireless internet. They are open Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.

City of Sand Springs unveils new state of the art Wastewater Treatment Facility

The City of Sand Springs held a grand opening and ribbon cutting at their new Wastewater Treatment Facility Wednesday morning.

The new $17.2M project was placed into service earlier this summer. The plant is capable of treating 3.1 million gallons/day (MGD) and could be expanded in the future to handle approximately 5MGD. The water facility replaces a much older site, which has since been demolished after serving citizens needs for more than 30 years. One of the primary benefits of Sand Springs’ new facility is the plant’s ability to manage a much broader array of wastewater treatment challenges faced by all municipal water managers.

“This new plant already has some capacity to handle additional gallons per day, beyond our current demand,” stated Derek Campbell, City Engineer. “We’re pleased to be able to bring this new facility online because it also provides us with a much broader ability to treat water chemistry challenges faced by our previous plant.”

With the new plant design the treatment of wastewater was changed from a rotating biological contactor (RBC) process to an activated sludge process. Updates were also made to improve the disinfection process. Additional screening and grit removal equipment were included in the facility’s design, further improving this plant from the previous one.

The overall project includes aerobic digester improvements, a disinfection system using sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulfite, disinfection contact basins, aeration blowers, sludge dewatering improvements, backup diesel and natural gas generators as well as new administration and chemical buildings.

City Manager Elizabeth Gray says this massive project is yet another example of the public investments happening now in the Sand Springs community.

“This plant represents our City Council and staff’s strong commitment to managing our wastewater collection and treatment system and finding the economic strategies to help make projects like this happen,” stated Gray. “We’ve invested in our parks, public safety and streets. We’re pleased to say that our new plant is online and ready to serve the community for many years to come.”

“We’ve been doing the right things for a long time and we’re finally starting to see results,” said Mayor Mike Burdge. “We have a history of insightful and forward thinking people in Sand Springs.”

The design phase began in 2013 to accommodate projected growth and increased environmental regulations through the next twenty years. Walters-Morgan Construction was awarded the contract in January of 2014 with Tetra Tech as the consulting engineers.

“Water and wastewater workers are the unsung heroes of City Government,” said Gray. “It’s been thirty years since Sand Springs made such a large investment in water or wastewater.”

Sand Springs Chamber Business Incubator hopes to help small businesses thrive

Sand Springs has no shortage of retail or office space available for lease or sale. Downtown storefronts sit vacant. The 7,000 sq. ft. Shoppes of Cleveland shopping center built in 2014 has never filled up. The 15,000 sq. ft. Shops at Sand Springs built in 2017 have yet to land a tenant. Numerous other buildings around town sit empty, most notably the 84,000 sq. ft. K-Mart building on Charles Page Boulevard.

The problem? While the City has been slowly attracting big corporations to town (ie: Colton’s Steak House, Aldi Grocery Store, Starbucks, CVS, etc.) most companies with real capital want to build their own facilities. Existing vacancies are typically filled by small local businesses, and even the cheapest real estate in town can be a serious strain on an aspiring entrepreneur.

The Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Sand Springs, is looking to kill two birds with one stone by providing low-cost office space to upstart organizations. The goal is for those businesses to build a customer base and reliable income stream so they can eventually expand into the vacant real estate around town.

Business Incubators not only offer cheap office space, but come with many other perks as well. The Oklahoma Small Business Incubators Incentives Act exempts tenants of certified incubators from state tax liability on income earned as a result of occupancy for up to ten years.

The Sand Springs Chamber incubator will also provide co-working space, conference rooms, electronic equipment such as printers, scanners, and a fax machine, and more. There are currently twelve rooms up for lease. The largest conference room seats as many as sixteen individuals comfortably. There will even be day-passes available for individuals to come use the technology center from their laptop.

The Chamber recently acquired their new building at 109 North Garfield Avenue from the City of Sand Springs with a $1.00/year lease agreement. The facility was formerly the home of the City’s Public Works Department and currently has 2,100 sq. ft. of rentable space.

“The City has been phenomenal to work with on this,” says Cepak. “(Community Development Director) Grant Gerondale has been amazing, that man has amazing ideas.”

Mile High Designs in Sand Springs recently installed new flooring through the whole building and most of it has received fresh paint and updated fixtures.

According to Chamber President Kristin Cepak, the Chamber has received approximately $6,000 worth of in-kind community donations so far, and 85% of the updates and improvements have been made by Sand Springs businesses. Organizations such as Webco and BancFirst are branding the building and providing free office supplies and other resources for the tenants.

The Chamber has yet to release pricing for the rental spaces. For more information on the incubator or other Chamber resources, contact Cepak at 918-245-3221 or visit their website at https://sandspringschamber.com/.

Atwoods Ranch & Home celebrates Grand Re-Opening of expanded Sand Springs location

Atwoods Ranch & Home held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning to commemorate an extensive remodel and expansion at their Sand Springs location.

The store never closed during the six month expansion, but they were without signage for several months and significant portions of the parking lot were closed for construction.

The store expanded from 50,000 square feet to more than 82,000, adding a larger selection of food, gifts, clothing, feed, pet supplies, and more. They also carry steel tanks for the first time.

Atwoods Sand Springs is located at 730 East Charles Page Boulevard and can be reached at 918-241-1700.