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Local & Regional

City Manager Looks Ahead to 2019 in Broken Arrow State of the City

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City of Broken Arrow
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City Manager Michael Spurgeon said Wednesday the state of Broken Arrow is strong, thanks to public and private investment in development.

He included in that a $211 million general obligation bond package voters approved earlier this year. Most of that investment has happened in downtown and near the Broken Arrow Expressway. Spurgeon said in 2019, redevelopment of south Broken Arrow needs to be an emphasis.

"We have consulting services out for New Orleans and Elm Place, and we’re also starting to see some growth in the south part of the city on some land that the city owns," Spurgeon said. "Traffic counts are going up, new rooftops are going up, and eventually that’s going to turn into additional businesses for that part of our community."

While south Broken Arrow will be looked at for commercial redevelopment, population growth is a slightly different story.

The city expects its population to hit 115,000 in time for the 2020 Census. The 2010 Census put Broken Arrow's population a bit shy of 99,000.

Officials hope a significant portion of that population growth happens downtown. There’s been a lot of commercial growth downtown in recent years, and Broken Arrow has shifted focus with steps like a downtown residential design overlay.

"We want to continue to encourage the investment in the downtown for residential because we need the density — whether it’s additional people that are working down here or living down here — to support the brick and mortar," Spurgeon said.

Broken Arrow officials also hope to move ahead with a planned Innovation District in the city during 2019. City officials are looking for a site for the development, which they hope will lead to high-tech, high-paying jobs.

The intent is also to form partnerships between companies in the innovation district and local schools.

"And we’re hoping those partnerships will turn into internships, educational opportunities to where we can have those who have graduated go out into the innovation district or other businesses within the community and take those jobs that are going to be available," Spurgeon said.

Voters have approved bond money for roads and other infrastructure that will be needed for the Innovation District.