Sapulpa City Manager
Editor’s note: This is the latest in the series Sapulpa Times is working on called, “How your government works for you.” Today, we’re asking City Manager Joan Riley one of the questions we get asked the most: “Do our city leaders want Sapulpa to stay small? Are they turning away businesses or keeping certain restaurants from coming here?” Here is what she had to say:
As City Manager of Sapulpa, I was hired with direction from the council to place emphasis on growing our city. As members of our community, the city council and staff have the same wants and needs as all other residents for retail and entertainment/restaurants. The process is slow at best and developers take time looking for the best option regarding infrastructure, traffic counts, and incentives which means already established growth areas (Walmart Glenpool and Tulsa Hills) draw their attention the most. So, the question is, what can we do to draw attention to Sapulpa. We as a city must take pride in our city, make efforts to keep it clean and improve the perception that we don’ care. Beautification is a major goal this fiscal year and each of us can do our part to Make Sapulpa Beautiful. Developers also want to see that a city is progressively investing in itself, improving quality of life, and showing growth through new housing developments. This is something Sapulpa’s leadership has been working toward during the four years I have been city manager and we are seeing these aspects come to fruition. In January, Sapulpa voted yes to a $40 million Bond Issue proving our desire to invest in our city. The 5 propositions are almost entirely directed toward quality of life for Sapulpa through public safety, recreation, improving our downtown, and providing economic development incentives. There have been approximately 300 houses and/or living units built and valued in excess of $40 million collectively during the last 24 months in Sapulpa. An additional 108 more are in current stages of development and up to 300-400 more being discussed and preliminary plans deliberated.
Dewey and Hobson have seen most of the empty buildings purchased. Plans are being finalized and initiated for refurbishment not just at storefront level, but a purpose for all three floors. Included in these plans are restaurants entertainment venues, loft and apartment downtown living. Construction has been ongoing for SeneGence who is moving headquarters and more than 100 jobs into our downtown. Add this to the other private development plans and it all starts coming together. I have seen the final plans and these renovations will blow you away. I invite everyone to be a part of the Downtown Master Plan study that will help identify how we can create a downtown that not only encourages development but also creates an atmosphere you want to spend time in. Be looking for invitations for public involvement in this very important planning endeavor.
Sapulpa is in the prime spot for future development—not the future as in 10 years from now, but the future as early as next year. Within the next several weeks the city will have hired a new Economic Development Director to help ensure that the developers take a look at what Sapulpa has to offer whether it be in a location on Route 66 or incentives for an idea we have not even dreamed of. One thing is for sure, it is time Sapulpa. It is time.