City of Sand Springs unveils new all-terrain "Trash Bandit"

The City of Sand Springs unveiled the newest addition to its fleet Thursday afternoon. The Trash Bandit all-terrain litter vacuum machine allows City workers to collect debris off-road without the physical toll and time limitations of picking it up on foot.

“Cities everywhere struggle daily to keep up with the litter and trash produced by the public, said Community Development Director Grant Gerondale. “With staffing resources stretched to the limit in most municipalities, Sand Springs has chosen to put our machine into service as we improve our efficiency and expand our reach on trash. The Trash Bandit will be a fun way to get the attention of youth with fun graphics and educational messages to help our community by choosing to not litter.”

According to Parks Director Jeff Edwards, the Trash Bandit is capable of cleaning up the entire Highway 412 right-of-way from Case Community Center to QuikTrip in only 45 minutes.

Sand Springs named 17th best place to live in Oklahoma

The Chamber of Commerce website recently released its list of the best cities to live in for each state. Sand Springs ranked 17th in Oklahoma, one spot ahead of the state capitol, Oklahoma City.

The online small business resource based its selections on five criteria: employment, housing, quality of life, education, and health. 

Top Twenty Oklahoma Cities 

  1. Enid

  2. Broken Arrow 

  3. Bixby

  4. Ponca City

  5. Edmond

  6. Owasso

  7. Bartlesville 

  8. Norman

  9. Stillwater

  10. Ardmore

  11. Tulsa

  12. Ada

  13. McAlester

  14. Yukon

  15. Claremore

  16. Durant 

  17. Sand Springs 

  18. Oklahoma City

  19. Shawnee

  20. Tahlequah 

Click here to view the full Chamber of Commerce article.

City of Sand Springs recognizes flood recovery volunteers, swears in new officers

Municipal Judge R. Jay McAtee administered the Oath of Office to newly appointed Sand Springs Police Officers Tyler Kruse and David Meacham at Monday evening’s City Council meeting.

Mayor Jim Spoon read a Mayoral Proclamation honoring the various organizations that helped during and after the historic flooding earlier this summer.

American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Sand Springs Local Church Network, Sand Springs Community Services, Team Rubicon, All Hands and Hearts, Platinum Oilfield Services, Kirby Smith Equipment, Yellowhouse Machinery, All Saints Episcopal School, and The Power of Partial Improvements were among the organizations mentioned in the decree.

Council unanimously approved the use of $207,559 in emergency reserve funds for flood recovery operations, including $8,000 on volleyball court sand, $11,000 on park-wide fill-in dirt, $31,000 on new fencing at the BMX Track, $30,000 on BMX Track asphalt, $17,000 on laser grading at the softball and baseball fields, $37,000 for new playground surfacing, $5,000 for soccer field irrigation equipment, $10,000 for dumpster rental, and $9,000 for new concessions building interior.

Resolution No. 19-31 and Ordinance No. 1335 were not voted on by the Council. Rupe Helmer Group requested the items be removed from the agenda after deciding not to pursue a controversial Dollar General construction project on Highway 97 in an area that some local residents believed should be reserved for residential development.

The Ward 4 Council Seat is currently vacant following the resignation of Councilwoman Christine Hamner, who recently moved outside of the Ward 4 boundaries. Because her term expires in the Spring, the Council is looking to appoint a temporary Councilperson rather than having a special election. Interested citizens can pick up an application from the City Clerk. The deadline for consideration is Wednesday, August 21st at noon.

Other Council news…

Council unanimously approved a Fiscal Year 2020 insurance plan through the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group with annual premiums totaling $234,214.

Council unanimously approved a sales tax rebate agreement with Reasor’s LLC for Fiscal Year 2020. The City approved a ten-year $2 million rebate agreement in 2011 as part of an incentive package to bring the business to Sand Springs.

Council unanimously approved a $153,132 contract with Superion LLC for financial software.

Council unanimously approved a $27,804 contract with Tyler Technologies for Municipal Court software.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of three Dodge Durangos and one Dodge Charger for the Police Department at a cost of $106,467.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of two commercial Cub Cadet mowers at a cost of $25,598.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of a Jacobson Sprayer XP-175 at a cost of $50,744.

Council unanimously voted to continue an existing Transportation Agreement for Fiscal Year 2020. The City supplies a driver, 14-passenger bus, maintenance on the vehicle, and fuel in order to provide limited free transportation for senior citizens.

Council unanimously voted to renew a $57,020 contract with Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority for bus services in Sand Springs.

Council unanimously voted to approve a change order to a contract with Crossland Construction for the Water Treatment Plant Beautification Wall project, authorizing an increase of $30,324.23 in contract amount, and an increase of 33 days in contract times. The overall project is valued at $1,144,131.83 is funded via a voter-approved general obligation bond package.

Council unanimously voted to authorize execution of all documents transfers, and payments related to the Main Street Improvement Project. Main Street will be reconstructed from 1st Street south to its current terminus, and will be extended to intersect with Highway 97 just north of the Arkansas River bridge. A new frontage road will be constructed to connect Main Street to the Highway 412 on-ramp at Lincoln Avenue.

Council unanimously approved a reconciliatory change order to the Morrow Road Widening Project, increasing a contract with Crossland Heavy Contractors by $3,919.90 and 49 days. The project was completed last month at a final cost of $1,410,919.90.

Council unanimously voted to authorize execution of all documents, transfers, and payments related to the Highway 97 Wideneing Project.

Council unanimously voted to authorize all documents, transfers, and payments related to the Sand Springs Pogue Airport Electrical Fault and PAPI Upgrade.

Council unanimously voted to approve a Specific Use Permit for medical marijuana growing and processing at 1200 East Charles Page Boulevard in the former K-Mart building. They also voted to rezone the property from Commercial Shopping to Commercial General.

Council unanimously voted to rezone 1201 North Cleveland Avenue to Residential Manufactured Home. The property has been a mobile home park since the 1950s but wasn’t properly rezoned when zoning designations were changed to their modern format.

Council unanimously approved a resolution to accept a grant offer and authorize payment and signatures relating to a series of draining improvements at Pogue Airport.

In Municipal Authority meeting news…

Trustees unanimously approved a one-year extension to a lease agreement with the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce for the former public works building at 109 North Garfield Avenue. The Chamber relocated their operations there a year ago and has been remodeling the building to create a small business incubator.

Trustees unanimously approved a one-year extension to an agreement with Waste Management of Oklahoma, Inc.

Case Community Park Splash Pad to reopen Friday


The Rotary Super Splash Pad in Case Community Park will reopen to the public Friday, July 19th, for the first time since a flooded Arkansas River submerged the 120-acre grounds on May 22nd.

The city’s flagship park was under as much as seven feet of water in some areas for more than a week during the historic flooding that saw Keystone Dam outflows in excess of 300,000 cubic feet per second.

Hundreds of volunteers have invested countless hours in cleaning up the grounds and facilities over the past six weeks.

The BMX track is open after extensive dirt work and repairs. The soccer fields, biking/walking trail, disc golf course, boat ramp, skate park, and picnic shelters are also open.

While none of the actual playground equipment was damaged by the flood, the artificial turf beneath the equipment was ruined. The playgrounds areas are fenced off and will remain closed until new turf can be installed in the near future.

The restroom facilities and concession stands are all closed, but port-o-johns have been brought in for the short-term.

Parks Director Jeff Edwards says it will likely be several weeks before the playgrounds can reopen, and months before the restrooms and concession facilities are finished.

Formerly known as River City Park, Case Park underwent a $6.2 million renovation in 2016 thanks to Vision 2025 funding and a $2 million donation by local philanthropists Mike and Pat Case. It is located at 2500 South River City Park Road and is open from dawn till midnight.

Case Community Park in Sand Springs re-opens after extensive flood damage


Case Community Park in Sand Springs is officially open to the public for the first time since a flooded Arkansas River submerged the 120-acre grounds on May 22nd.

The city’s flagship park was under as much as seven feet of water in some areas for more than a week during the historic flooding that saw Keystone Dam outflows in excess of 300,000 cubic feet per second.

Hundreds of volunteers have invested countless hours in cleaning up the grounds and facilities over the past six weeks.

The BMX track is open after extensive dirt work and repairs. The soccer fields, biking/walking trail, disc golf course, boat ramp, skate park, and picnic shelters are also open.

While none of the actual playground equipment was damaged by the flood, the artificial turf beneath the equipment was ruined. The playgrounds areas are fenced off and will remain closed until new turf can be installed in the near future.

The Rotary Super Splash Pad is closed due to electrical damage, but is expected to reopen soon. The restroom facilities are all closed, but port-o-johns have been brought in for the short-term.

Formerly known as River City Park, Case Park underwent a $6.2 million renovation in 2016 thanks to Vision 2025 funding and a $2 million donation by local philanthropists Mike and Pat Case. It is located at 2500 South River City Park Road and is open from dawn till midnight.

Sand Springs Parks Dept. unveils new restroom facility at Pratt Civitan Park & Splashpad


Sand Springs City leaders and Parks Department staff gathered for a ribbon cutting celebration at Pratt Civitan Park Tuesday morning. The department recently completed construction on a new restroom facility with covered patio seating.

“The citizens of Sand Springs recognized the increased popularity of Pratt Civitan Park after the recently installed splash pad, and approved this need through the passing of a GO Bond,” stated Parks Director Jeff Edwards. “Our talented staff went above and beyond their normal job duties in our commitment to providing a more enjoyable park environment, to offer this custom comfort station to the public.”

The six-month project was completed by Parks Staff instead of being contracted out in order to save taxpayers money. The climate-controlled family bathroom is ADA compliant and uses magnetic door locks. It will be open during normal Park hours from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. Also attached to the building is a new pavilion and a pressure wash station for maintenance crews to more easily service the splash pad.

The 3.6 acre park is located at 212 West 43rd Street and features basketball and tennis courts, a swing set, grills, two covered pavilions, and the city’s only functional splash pad. The park is named for the now defunct Civitan Club who previously helped raise funds for the swing bay.

Improvements are also being made at Angus Valley Park and Ray Brown Park. Case Community Park is still closed at press time due to damages sustained during the recent historic flooding that completely submerged the hundred-acre park, which includes the Rotary Super Splash Pad. That closure has significantly increased the number of visitors at Pratt Civitan in recent weeks.

Pratt Civitan’s two pavilions are free on a first-come first-served basis, or can be reserved at $20.00 per hour.

Nine Fun Free Summer Destinations in Sand Springs

Hundreds of Sandites are still picking up the pieces after historic flooding devastated low-lying river-side areas outside of the protection of the levee system.

Not only did many flood victims lose their homes, but the entire community lost access to the 100-acre recreational paradise that is Case Community Park.

Soccer, Softball, Baseball, Disc Golf, Volleyball, Basketball, Trails, Horse Shoes, BMX, playgrounds, and the Rotary Super Splash Pad were all taken from Sand Springs for the foreseeable future.

Despite the tragic park closure, there are still many great opportunities for Sand Springs residents to find some rest, relaxation, recreation, and entertainment.

Case Community Center

While most of Case Community Park may be closed, the community center at the north end of the park escaped the flood waters and is open for business. Although part of the building is set aside for FEMA operations, there are still plenty of fun activities.

Pickleball, Zumba, Tai Chi, Tiny Tots in Training, Dance Fitness, and Senior Exercise are only a few of the regularly scheduled activities. There’s an open basketball court, workout equipment, an indoor track, ping pong, video games, and more!

Case Community Skate Park

Also open for recreation is the 7,000 sq. ft. skate park located just south of the Community Center. Break out your skateboard, scooter, or bicycle and hit the quarter pipe! Ramps, stairs, rails, banks, bridges, all open from dawn till dusk!

Click here for more information on the Skate Park and Community Center.

Sand Springs Historical and Cultural Museum

Located in the heart of the downtown Triangle district, this beautiful example of Art Deco architecture is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a fun and educational way to spend your afternoon.

Constructed in 1929 as a public library, the building was commissioned by Lucile Page to honor her late husband, Charles Page, the founder and patriarch of Sand Springs.

The library was converted into a museum following the construction of the new Charles Page Library building in 2001. The museum features a permanent exhibit on the history of Sand Springs and legacy of its benefactor, as well as rotating art and history exhibits.

Click here for more information on the museum.

Katy Trail & Centennial Park

Go for a bike ride along Katy Trail! Free parking for the trail is available at the Stage Department Store, right by the original site of the sandy springs from which our town draws its name. This easy-rated trail system can take you as far as you want to go, meeting with Newblock Park Trail and Riverparks East Trail in Tulsa. You can also take it south along Highway 97 into Prattville.

Click here for more information on Katy Trail.

Keystone Ancient Forest

Enjoy 1,360 acres of 300-year-old post oaks, 500-year-old cedars, wildlife, beautiful scenery, and about eight miles of hiking trails at varying difficulties. See the untamed wilderness that has remained mostly unchanged since it was first traversed by famed explorer Washington Irving almost 200 years ago. This park was one of the deciding factors in why Expedia named Sand Springs as Oklahoma’s Best Getaway Location for 2019.

Click here for more information on Keystone Ancient Forest.

Page Park

This north-side park features playground equipment, tennis courts, basketball, grills, swing sets, a teeter-totter, and a large open field for baseball, softball, kite-flying, etc.

Pratt Civitan Park

This recently-renovated south-side beauty offers basketball, tennis, swing sets, playground equipment, grills, a brand new restroom facility, and the City’s only open splash pad.

Ray Brown Park

One of the most recent park renovations includes new playground equipment, swing sets, grills, a picnic area, a trail, and lots of open space for group activities.

Sand Springs Lake Park

The Sand Springs Lake is another historic piece of Sand Springs. Originally a weekend destination for neighboring Tulsans, it used to be a popular swimming hole with a petting zoo and amusement park. Those days are long gone, but it’s still a quaint afternoon getaway with an ADA-accessible trail, a beautiful garden, and well-stocked ecosystem of fish.

ZegART Studios

One great place for summer activities is ZegART Studios. The local art studio and gallery features great affordable summer camp classes for youth ages 6-18. Learn to express yourself through mobiles, wall hangings, macrame, painting, mosaics, metal engraving, string art, wood work, birdhouses, acrylics, and more.

Click here for more information on ZegART Studios.

Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice & Java

With cheap delicious snow cones, voted Best in Tulsa County in 2016, and lots of free activities for the kiddos, Harper’s Hut is a must-stop for all Sand Springs visitors. Toss a frisbee or a football, practice your disc golf throw, hula hoop, play corn hole, and have your picture taken aboard a pirate ship!

Click here for more information on Harper’s Hut.

Sertoma and Pier 51 fireworks shows canceled due to flooding


The annual Pier 51 and Sand Springs Sertoma Club fireworks shows have been canceled for the 2019 season due to flooding.

The Sertoma Club has hosted an annual fireworks show on July 3rd since 1989, but this is the second time in the past three years that the event has been canceled. In 2017 the club had to cancel their show due to construction in Case Community Park. Now it has been called off due to extensive flood damage after the entirety of Case Park was submerged for more than a week.

Pier 51 on Keystone Lake also hosts an annual Independence Day fireworks show and has called off their festivities due to high waters and low revenue. At press time Keystone Lake is 25 feet higher than this date last year. According to event organizers, the area from which the fireworks are normally launched is currently submerged. High water levels and questionable lake conditions due to upstream flooding have put a damper on the Keystone-area economy this season.

One fireworks show that will continue unimpeded is the eighth annual Big Blast Fireworks Show and Kids Fun Fest at 17516 West 8th Street. Festivities kick off at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 22nd with the fireworks show beginning at dark. There will be free games, prizes, concessions and more with $10 kids passes available for unlimited inflatable jumps and a pony ride.

Sand Springs City Council issues continuance on controversial Dollar General location

Possible future site for a Dollar General store.

Possible future site for a Dollar General store.

The Sand Springs City Council took no action on a controversial ordinance to rezone a vacant lot at 2702 North State Highway 97. More than fifty local citizens showed up in opposition to a proposed Dollar General location that they feel is inappropriately located in a residential area.

Council was schedule to vote on rezoning the land from residential to commercial to allow the construction of a Dollar General store by AAB Engineering. Because the Council meeting was moved forward a week from its previously scheduled date, Dollar General representatives were unable to be present for the meeting, and requested a continuance.

Because of the lack of representation from Dollar General, and because of the absence of Vice Mayor Patty Dixon, Council voted 5-1 in favor of delaying the rezoning vote until the July 22nd meeting.

In the rezoning application, AAB Engineering points to the close proximity of a gas station, water tower, mini storage facility, church, and radio station as justification for the commercial zoning. Additionally, a 1981 plat of the land indicated that business or commercial operations would be allowed on the lot.

However, the property sits at the intersection of Pond Drive, which is entirely residential. Approximately 238 local residents signed a petition in opposition of the rezoning, citing their desire for a quiet, rural community, and fear that the construction of a Dollar General would lead to additional future development in the area.

The City of Sand Springs voted to annex the Osage County land on May 20th. The Planning Commission voted 2-2 on the rezoning application at their last week’s meeting, failing to recommend either approval or denial of the request. However, the City staff has recommended approval.

Mayor Jim Spoon remarked that he was impressed with the public turnout for the meeting, and hoped to see as many citizens at the next meeting. One citizen remarked that they would be bringing even more opposition to the next meeting.

Police Chief Mike Carter gave a presentation regarding the 2019 Policing Plan and took public comment on the subject. This is the fourth year the department has adopted a policing plan and last year’s version was awarded the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership in Community Policing Award.

All officers will be issued new business cards with their name, badge number, and a website address to file online compliments or complaints. Following an unscientific Facebook poll with 93% community approval, the department will no longer restrict the hiring of officers with visible tattoos.

The department recently purchased six new police bicycles. They have been used successfully to silently close in on late night burglary suspects, to patrol trails systems and crowded community events, and to teach children how to ride bikes safely.

As part of the department’s Community Policing and Crime Reduction Plan officers took 51 students from Sand Springs Public Schools to a Tulsa ropes course to participate in the Community Trust Champions project.

The 2019 Policing Plan also calls for increased traffic violation warnings in lieu of fines, an improved system of acknowledging community complaints and disciplining officers, increased training and certifications, increased transparency, collaboration with local businesses for economic development, participation in the Hispanic Affairs Commission, Autism Awareness Training, and Critical Incident Inoculation Training.

In Other News:

Council revisited a request by Councilman Brian Jackson to have a Masonic Cornerstone installed at the new Billie A Hall Public Safety Center. The motion was previously defeated at both May Council meetings.

More than a dozen Masonic Lodge members turned out in support of the resolution, and former City Councilman Dean Nichols spoke on their behalf. The measure was approved by unanimous 6-0 vote.

Council unanimously approved the Worker’s Compensation Plan through the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group with a yearly premium of $489,706.

Council unanimously approved a resolution clarifying the City’s rules regarding retention of certain public records. The resolution allows for the immediate destruction of emails, social media posts, text messages, voicemails, and browsing history, leaving their retention up to the sole discretion of the individual employees involved.

Council unanimously approved an agreement with Crawford & Associates in the amount of $50,000 for accounting and consulting services.

Council unanimously approved an agreement with Arledge and Associates in the amount of $35,875 for for financial statement audit services.

Council unanimously approved a continuance regarding a rezoning request at the former K-Mart building. Council will vote July 22nd on whether to rezone 1200 East Charles Page Boulevard from Commercial Shopping to Commercial General.

Council unanimously approved a ratification of a Memorandum of Understanding for participation in the Southwest Area Tactical Team.

Council unanimously voted to declare as surplus two 2007 John Deere backhoes for trade-in.

Council unanimously voted to purchase a Yanmar Vio-80 Compact Excavator from DitchWitch of Tulsa for $102,550, and an Interstate 50TDL Equipment Trailer for $27,750.

Council unanimously approved a resolution setting forth guidelines to assist the City in pursuing legal claims and in responding to legal claims against the City.

Council unanimously approved a resolution affirming a Declaration of Emergency following the May 2019 Flood Event. The declaration authorizes and affirms the execution of contracts, budget amendments, waivers of competitive bidding, and payments to the pursuant contracts to restore City property and equipment that was damaged during the flood. City Staff is currently estimating a budgetary impact of $1,581,600 in flood damages.

Council unanimously approved a Master Service Agreement with Motorola Solutions for recurring services related to Motorola MCC 7500 dispatch consoles.

Council unanimously approved the appointment of the following individuals to various boards and committees:

  • Mike Burdge to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Christine Hamner to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Appointment Committee.

  • Mike Burdge to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Jim Spoon to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Finance and Development Committee.

  • Patty Dixon to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Christine Hamner to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Brian Jackson to Council Legislative Committee.

  • Jim Spoon to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Beau Wilson to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Phil Nollan to Council Public Works Advisory Committee.

  • Mike Burdge to the INCOG Board of Directors.

  • Jim Spoon as Alternate to the INCOG Board of Directors.

  • Jim Spoon to the INCOG General Assembly.

  • Elizabeth Gray as Alternate to the INCOG General Assembly.

  • Mike Burdge to the INCOG Legislative Consortium.

  • Jim Spoon as Alternate to the Legislative Consortium.

  • Derek Campbell to the INCOG - Tulsa Metropolitan Area Transportation Policy Committee.

  • TJ Davis as Alternate to the INCOG - Tulsa Metropolitan Area Transportation Policy Committee.

  • Phil Nollan to the Sand Springs Parks Advisory Board.

  • Daniel Comer to the Sand Springs Parks Advisory Board.

  • Harold Neal to the Sand Springs Planning Commission.

  • Keri Fothergill to the Sand Springs Planning Commission.

  • Phil Nollan to the Sand Springs Economic Development Authority.

  • Troy Zickefoose to the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Sales Tax Overview Committee.

  • Leia Anderson to the Pogue Airport Advisory Board.

  • Rick Westcott to the Pogue Airport Advisory Board.

  • Elizabeth Gray to the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board.

  • Derek Campbell to the Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Board.

In the Municipal Authority meeting following City Council, Trustees unanimously approved a $31,551 Agreement Renewal with the Metropolitan Environmental Trust for administering and operating the Sand Springs Recycling Project.

Trustees unanimously approved a one-year extension to a contract with Talley Golf, who operates the pro shop, grill, golf cart rental, and other services at the Canyons at Blackjack Ridge.

Registration opens for 2019 Great Raft Race

Registration is officially open for the 2019 Great Tulsa Raft Race, which will take place on Labor Day, September 2nd. Early bird prices start at $45 per participant and will increase to $55 in July and $70 in August. Registration will close August 30th.

Participants can enter kayaks, canoes, inflatable rafts, or homemade rafts. The race launches on the Arkansas River from Case Community Park in Sand Springs and terminates in Tulsa’s River West Festival Park.

The historic race ran annually from 1973 to 1991 before being resurrected in 2015. It is hosted by the Tulsa Young Professional Foundation.

There are two categories for homemade rafts. Small rafts can be no larger than 8 x 10 feet, while large rafts can be no larger than 12 x 16 ft. The organization will have one-man kayaks and six-person inflatable rubber rafts for rental.

Both Corporate Challengers and recreational Pokey Okies will receive prizes for Best of Show, Best Engineered, and Most Creative. The Corporate division will also be timed with a Fastest Down the River award.

Free registration will be provided for 15 local schools to participate in the STEM School Challenge. Students age 12 and over will use their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to compete in the same four categories as the corporate challengers.

A Cardboard Regatta race will be held in the lagoon at the Finish Line Festival for students under the age of 12. They can build their cardboard raft ahead of time or with free provided materials the day-of.

River West park will host the Finish Line Festival with music, food trucks, inflatable activities, lawn games, retail vendors, and more. Admission is free to spectators, though pets will not be permitted.

In the event that water levels are too low to float, or too high to float safely, full refunds will be issued for all participants. Severe weather conditions could also cancel or delay the event.

Click here to visit the registration site.

Click here to apply for the STEM Challenge.

For more information click here to visit the official Raft Race site.

Texas private school visits Sand Springs to help clean up flood damage


A group of 26 volunteers from All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler, Texas visited Sand Springs Tuesday and put in a full day of work at the recently flooded Case Community Park.

23 high school-aged students and their three adult escorts teamed up with local volunteer group The Power of Partial Improvements to muck out the concessions and restroom buildings throughout the park. They also power-washed silt from the sidewalks, splash pad, and buildings.

The group is spending the week in Tulsa on their annual school mission trip to assist with flood-damaged areas, feed the homeless, and other community projects. They are staying at Oral Roberts University, and have also been working with Restore Hope Ministries on Charles Page Boulevard, organizing donations and prepping cleaning supply packages for flood victims.

The Power of Partial Improvements typically works to clean up trash along the Oklahoma shorelines, but was unable to take the students too close to the water due to the large number of displaced snakes in the area. For more information on PPI, or to make a donation toward their conservation efforts, click here to visit them online.

Power of Partial Improvements to host cleanup day Tuesday at Case Community Park

Volunteers work in Case Community Park at a Saturday volunteer event.

Volunteers work in Case Community Park at a Saturday volunteer event.

Tulsa-based nonprofit “Power of Partial Improvements” will be hosting a volunteer day Tuesday in Sand Springs to help with the flood damage in Case Community Park.

The 120-acre park was under 4-8 feet of water for more than a week and it will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future. The City of Sand Springs held a community cleanup day Saturday that attracted about 400 people, but the work is far from finished.

Power of Partial Improvements is focused on aiding in the conservation and maintenance of Oklahoma’s 55,646 miles of shoreline. In the past they have worked to clean up areas in the old Estill Park area along Wekiwa Road that have been used as illegal dumping grounds.

They won’t be doing too much around the Arkansas River shoreline this week due to the large number of displaced snakes. Instead they’ll be working to clean up the area around the Rotary Super Splash Pad and the youth sports facilities.

The group has a large number of volunteers visiting from Texas, and is also encouraging the local community to come out and find somewhere to get plugged in. PPI will be working from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a lunch break from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Equipment and lunch will be provided, but volunteers are instructed to wear close-toed shoes.

Volunteers will meet at Case Community Center at 1050 West Wekiwa Road.

400 Sand Springs volunteers turn out for Community Service Day at Case Park

Nearly 400 volunteers showed up to a work day at Case Community Park Saturday morning to help clean up the 100-acre park after it spent more than a week submerged by the flooded Arkansas River.

Photos courtesy of HillSpring Church.

Waters reached depths of 4-8 feet in some areas and the park remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The swift Arkansas current eroded the soil around the base of numerous trees. Some trees were knocked over and had to be removed, while others had to be righted, staked, and filled in with dirt.

Dead tree limbs, leaves, trash, and other detritus littered the grounds of the baseball, softball, soccer, and disc golf fields. All the chain link fencing throughout the park was packed with detritus that had to be removed. In many areas the current bent the fencing beyond repair and it had to be removed. Every bit of pavement in the park is under an inch of silt that had to be pressure washed.

The softball, baseball, and soccer concession stands and restroom buildings were all heavily flooded, resulting in a complete loss of almost everything inside. The buildings had to be mucked out and scrubbed. Containers had to be cleared out and several roll-off dumpsters were filled to the brim throughout the park. The entire fenced-in port-o-potty enclosure had to be demolished.

Playground turf had to be removed throughout the park. Metal art pieces throughout the park had to be pressure washed. Multiple low spots throughout the park had to be filled in due to washout. The volleyball court had to be refilled with sand after most of it washed away.

The Parks Department split the volunteers into several teams based on physical capabilities and project difficulty. Joy Turner, Kevin Rouk, Tristan Hudson, Shawn Cole, Gene Hartman, Joe Medlin, Ashlie Pope, Tom Potocnik, Kim Fisher, Grant Gerondale, and Jeff Edwards were the various team leaders.

Church That Matters hosts 29th Annual Kids Free Fishing Derby, gives away free boat

The 29th Annual Kids’ Free Fishing Derby went off without a hitch Saturday morning at the Sand Springs Lake, drawing more than 200 participants between the ages of 4-12.

Church That Matters hosted the event in partnership with the Sand Springs Parks Department, with free giveaway prizes donated by numerous community businesses. The lake was stocked with more than 200 pounds of catfish, bass, and bluegill prior to the event.

Briley Blaylock won the 4-6 age division with a 9.1 ounce catch, followed by Tristen Walker (6.5) and Jason Speck (4.3). Owen Russell won the 7-9 division with a 14.5 oz catch, followed by Alecia Oxidine (11.1) and Chandlar Templeton (9.8). Dalton Lunn won the 10-12 division with a 7.9 oz fish, followed by Bayley Gehri (7.7) and Carson Simmons (6.8).

Russell had the biggest overall catch at 14.5 oz, while Julianna Romero had the smallest at 0.2 oz. Peyton Simms won the biggest turtle competition at 10.75 inches.

Raffle prizes included an O’Rageous Family Pool, a Ginormous Gorilla Sprinkler, fishing poles, water guns, free kids’ meal gift cards to Charlie’s Chicken, Frisbees, tackle boxes, coolers, Dave & Buster’s gift cards, a Magellan 5-man Bastrop Tent, an Intex Challenger one-person kayak, and a Sundolphin two-person fishing boat.

The Sand Springs Lake Park is located at 1401 East Park Road and features a bike/walking trail, a beautiful garden, a picnic area, and a shelter.

Flood damage cleanup day scheduled for Case Community Park


Sand Springs, OK - The Sand Springs Local Church Network and the City of Sand Springs is teaming up to create a special Case Community Park Cleanup event this Saturday, June 8, 2019.

The volunteer cleanup event is open to everyone and will be assisted by City of Sand Springs Parks staff. Volunteers should arrive before 8:00 a.m. Parking will be located at the south end of the Case Community Center parking lot (1050 W. Wekiwa Road, Sand Springs, OK). All volunteers will be asked to sign in, in order to help the community receive additional FEMA credit for their efforts.

Volunteers will split into several teams, covering much of the 120-acre park site, which was heavily damaged from the historical flood event this month. Workers are advised to wear work clothes, gloves, proper footwear, hat and sunscreen. The event is weather dependent.

All parties interested in helping out should monitor the City of Sand Springs Facebook page, which includes a “special event” posting on this gathering with real time updates including weather information.

Volunteers do not need to bring anything, however those who are able and willing to bring and operate small chain saws and gasoline powered backpack blowers are needed. Sweep brooms are also needed. Other tasks will include relocating metal bleachers washed away; picking up tree debris, operating pressure washers, sweeping and blowing off concrete walks, splash pads and more.

First look at Case Community Park flood damage, cleanup day scheduled for Saturday

Sand Springs Parks Director Jeff Edwards surveys damages near the Will Ramsey Softball Complex.

Sand Springs Parks Director Jeff Edwards surveys damages near the Will Ramsey Softball Complex.

Sand Springs City Council, Parks Advisory Board, and select members of the media were given a tour of the recently flooded Case Community Park Monday evening, getting their first look at the devastation inflicted by recent historic flooding.

More than a hundred acres of Sand Springs’s flagship park was under several feet of water for more than a week this past May. The park has undergone more than $10 million in renovations and improvements over the past five years, and much of that hard work has been undercut by mother nature’s recent fury.

Thankfully, most of the park’s amenities are insured and can be replaced. Additionally, the Parks Department removed more than $200,000 worth of tables, benches, trashcans, and other items prior to the water reaching them.

So far the City of Sand Springs has yet to do any work at Case, and Parks Department staff have been busy helping with volunteer efforts in the recently flooded Meadow Valley subdivision. The City will be hosting a community cleanup day Saturday, June 8th, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Sand Springs Local Church Network will be working with the Parks Department to provide free lunch for any volunteers who come out.

The BMX Track and Will Ramsey Softball Complex took the brunt of the damage as those two areas are right along the river path and had a strong current running through them. The Roger S. Bush Soccer Complex and Jerry Adair Baseball Park were also flooded, but mainly due to backup from a creek that runs past them. Flood waters reached depths of 3-4 feet in the baseball facilities and 8-10 feet in the soccer fields and deeper parts of the park.

Parks Director Jeff Edwards pointed out that even while flooded, the parks were still serving their community. Case Park lies between the river and the levee, and an 80-acre section of the park is actually owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the floodplain.

All of the fencing around the softball and BMX parks will likely need to be replaced. The chain link is packed solid with leaves, trash, and other detritus. Much of the fence has collapsed or warped under the pressure from the current, which also eroded around the base of many fence posts.

Much of the electrical systems running through the park will need to be redone, and the concessions and restroom facilities will need extensive rehabbing. All of the artificial turf under the playgrounds will need to be replaced, though the playground equipment itself appears to be undamaged.

None of the disc golf baskets appear to have suffered significant damage, though much of that area has yet to be thoroughly inspected. At present time the grounds are too waterlogged to support heavy vehicles, and the BMX track is cut off due to a downed tree.

Fortunately, the annual Chillin’ ‘n’ Grillin’ festival that normally takes place in Case was already planned to relocate to downtown prior to the flooding, and celebrated its 8th year of festivities without a hitch this past weekend. Unfortunately, the 22nd Annual Sertoma Fireworks Show scheduled for July 3rd has been canceled, as has the 3rd Annual Riverfest, and the Summer Outdoor Movie Series.

City of Sand Springs releases Levee-A Evacuation Plan, Tulsa encouraging voluntary evacuation


The City of Sand Springs released an official Evacuation Plan for a levee-breach scenario Saturday afternoon. No levee breach has currently been detected but the City’s emergency services are being proactive.

No significant damage has been detected to Levee A at this time. However, the World War 2-era sand berms are increasingly vulnerable for as long as they are exposed to hydrostatic pressure.

In the event that a credible threat to Levee A is detected, the City will notify all businesses and citizens registered with the Emergency Phone Notification System. Businesses will be instructed to close immediately and to send all patrons and employees north of Highway 412/64.

Officers will be sent to expedite traffic, Flood Warning Sirens will sound, and no traffic other than rescue personnel will be allowed to drive south of Highway 412/64 or North on Highway 97 from South Sand Springs.

In the event of a levee breach, areas affected would include Wal-Mart, River West, all of Morrow Road, the Atwoods Shopping Center, the Harris Shopping Center, and all of Charles Page Boulevard. A full map of affected locations is below.

Officers and volunteers will be stationed in the Charles Page High School football practice field at 10th Street and Adams Road to receive airlift rescues, who will then be sent to either Broadway Baptist Church or the Ed Dubie Field House.

Relief efforts will be coordinated from the Sand Springs Emergency Operations Center in downtown.

Because of the heavy industrial operations along the river, any flooding would call for Haz-Mat quarantine in areas like OmniTrax, Morrow Road, and the entire area between Main Street and Adams Road.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has expressed their intent to continue outflow in the range of 250,000-260,000 cubic feet per second until at least Wednesday, possibly longer if more rain affects the region.

During the historic 1986 flood, the levees were only exposed to current conditions for approximately twelve hours. They have currently been keeping flood waters at bay for more than 40 hours with at least 80 hours to go. This is the toughest test that Levee District 12 has ever endured. In December of 2016 Levees A & B were considered to be “Very High Risk” by the USACE with levee overtopping highly likely.

County officials have stressed the need for a new and improved levee system for years. According to a 2017 report, “the levees have a history of poor performance.” The 1984 flooding along Harlow and Bigheart (formerly Blackboy) Creeks caused overtopping, extensive erosion, and foundation failure of the floodwalls. Significant repairs were made after both the 1984 and 1986 floods, but concern remains.

Levee C nearly breached Thursday due to significant erosion, but Crossland Construction Company was able to build a new temporary levee overnight from shale and rock in the West Bank Soccer Complex.

The City of Tulsa is encouraging preemptive evacuation of residential areas along the levees and has increased the police presence in areas along Charles Page Boulevard. National Guardsmen have been placed along the levees to monitor the situation and help with any potential evacuations.

Leaks have sprung in the Levee A and B dikes at 65th and Charles Page Boulevard, an unincorporated area inside the Sand Springs fenceline. The leaks are only from joints and are considered to relatively insignificant. Sandbags were stacked along the area Friday to prevent erosion and guardsmen are monitoring the situation.

Leaking levees not a concern according to Tulsa County Levee Commissioner

On Memorial Day weekend 1984 the area surrounding 65th West Avenue and Charles Page Boulevard was completely submerged in the worst flood Tulsa has ever seen. The water level from that event is painted onto the B Levee dike as a sobering reminder of the devastation that ultimately left 14 people dead in Tulsa.

Fast forward 35 years and once again Oklahoma is facing a statewide flood of historic nature. As of midnight Friday, the Keystone Dam is releasing 251,901 cubic feet of water per second. The dam has been releasing over 200,000 for 36 hours now, but during that time the lake rose two feet due to inflow exceeding 300,000. The flood control pool is at 104.92% capacity.

Not only is the ever-rising Arkansas River threatening the south side of Levee A, but a flooded Harlow Creek is steadily rising on the north side of Levee B. Page Boulevard runs right between the two, and the large concrete dikes on either side are springing leaks. The runoff from these leaks has drawn concern from local residents, but it’s of no concern to Levee officials.

According to Tulsa County Levee Commissioner Todd Kilpatrick, the leaks are perfectly normal. The dikes aren’t solid, they’re made of several concrete slabs joined together. Currently, the water is only coming out of the joints due to hydrostatic pressure. The same sight has been observed at the Keystone Dam.

Although he has spent years lobbying for increased funding and a new modernized levee system, he maintains that the current World War 2-era system is doing its job. The biggest danger to the sand-based levees isn’t the amount of water behind them, but the amount of time they’re inundated, allowing the earth to soak. and potentially liquefy.

Though the Tulsa/Sand Springs border is still safe for now, things are gradually worsening back to the west.

Case Community Park is completely flooded. Softball, soccer, and baseball fields are all submerged, as is the BMX track, the disc golf course, playgrounds, and the Rotary Super Splash Pad. As of 8:00 p.m. Thursday, water was nearly to the roof of the old soccer concession stands.

Sand Springs Parks Director Jeff Edwards says the Parks staff worked nonstop to remove as much at-risk park equipment as possible before the rising water finally brought their efforts to a stop. He believes they saved as much as $200,000 worth of picnic tables and other equipment.

The park received a $6 million remodel less than three years ago, but Edwards says the park facilities and equipment are insured. Between insurance and potential FEMA funding, finances shouldn’t be a problem for rebuilding most of the park. However, it’ll take extensive man-hours to clear debris and make repairs. All of the utilities will have to be inspected, the artificial turf in all of the playgrounds will have to be replaced, and its unclear how the waters will affect the BMX track’s berms.

On the bright side, all of the new playground equipment is expected to survive the waters without damage, as is the new amphitheater and the art pieces around the Great Lawn.

The Sand Springs Animal Shelter was evacuated Thursday afternoon as flood waters began approaching the building. The animals are being temporarily housed at the Humane Society of Tulsa. Animal Welfare workers will still be available to help with rescues.

Highway 51 is closed for the foreseeable future from Riverview RV Park west to 137th West Avenue. All four lanes are submerged due to overflow from Anderson Creek. Anderson Creek has also flooded the Meadow Valley subdivision all the way up to 26th Street, as well as the Sand Springs Sand and Gravel Company and Double H Sales.

The Tulsa Boys Home has evacuated all of their students. Privately placed boys have been picked up by their guardians, while wards of the State have been placed in temporary foster care.

The Riverside West and Town & Country subdivisions have flooded all the way up to 19th Street. At least seven blocks are under four feet of water or higher.

The White Water Recreation Area on the Southeast side of the dam has been completely flooded and closed off. Anyone wanting to view the dam will have to park on the north side of the river near Bush Creek Park.

As of 7:00 p.m. the beachfront at Candlestick Beach was flooded and beginning to cover parts of 14th Street. Voluntary evacuation is heavily encouraged for residents of the subdivision.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol has rescue boats staged at various points along the river. The Tulsa County Sheriffs Department is assisting with evacuation at Candlestick Beach and Town & Country, while the Sand Springs Police and Sand Springs/Sapulpa Joint Fire Department are occupying Highway 51 outside of Meadow Valley.

Click here to visit our Flood of 2019 homepage for extensive video and photo coverage.

Evacuations continue in Sand Springs as flood waters rise, Keystone output surpasses 205,000 cfs


Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs is advising Meadow Valley residents and others living in low lying areas along the Arkansas River to expect REAL flooding to occur and to take immediate action. The City is advising residents to take immediate actions to remove or protect property from those areas, and to consider a voluntary evacuation by 6:00 p.m. today. There is no mandatory evacuation in place.

With new information this morning from the USACE of dam releases increasing to 215,000 cfs later today and holding there, the City expects portions of the Meadow Valley neighborhood, and potentially others, to flood. This flood event is expected to last for several days. Highway 51 near 137th West Avenue will likely flood, making vehicular traffic there impossible.

Last night the City of Sand Springs declared an emergency disaster proclamation, with actions to take place designed to protect public health, reduce damage and render emergency services to citizens. Officials from Webco Industries have made changes to their operations at the former “STAR” center until this flood event has passed and are closed. Case Community Park remains closed with warnings for citizens not to enter. City Police and Fire crews are working the various scenes around the clock to monitor.

If an American Red Cross emergency shelter is needed later, plans are in place now for that to happen. The City reminds area residents to monitor the City of Sand Springs Face Book page for real time updates.

City of Sand Springs Advising Citizens for Flood Potential


Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs is advising area residents, especially those in the Meadow Valley housing neighborhood to brace for the potential of additional flooding. Although the rain event has stopped for now, the lag time for waters upstream of Keystone Dam to reach Sand Springs can delay flooding activities downstream for several hours.

Last night, City of Sand Springs Police and Fire teams reached out (via phone messages and neighborhood visits) to residents in the Meadow Valley neighborhood, along HWY 51 in Sand Springs to alert residents of the potential for flooding. This area, and others in Tulsa County which may not be in City limits but are near the Arkansas River, may be affected by the planned increases in outflows from Keystone Dam later tonight.

In Sand Springs City limits, Case Community Park has now closed until further notice. All sports and trail related activities are cancelled at this site. The Case Community Center (1050 W. Wekiwa Road) however remains open.

The City urges residents to pay attention to street closures and the accompanying traffic barricades that are placed to protect public safety.

This afternoon, the USACE confirms that 100,000 cubic feet/ second (cfs) of water is being currently, with 20,000 cfs increases planned at 2 p.m.; 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., leaving the discharge at that time to be around 160,000 cfs. The USACE will revise dam operations as needed after that.