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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History


The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by Kay County Media LLC as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

2009 — The 2009 Rodeo marked the 50th running of the rodeo honoring what historians have described as the birthplace of rodeo — the once mighty 101 Ranch.

In late 1959, Allan W. Muchmore, president of the chamber of commerce envisioned the plan of a rodeo as a part of the Cherokee Strip Celebration and appointed Scott Hancock as president of the Ponca City Rodeo Foundation, a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce formed for the purpose of promoting and sponsoring rodeo here in Ponca City. The rodeo returned during the Cherokee Strip Celebration in September 1960. By 1962 the financial success of the Cherokee Strip Rodeo proved that people wanted the return of a show similar to the 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show and the history now continues on.

Osage Million Dollar Elm casino in Ponca City is primed for expansion after a sewer line extension agreement was signed recently between the city and the Osage Nation. The casino, an economic enterprise of the Osage Nation, is diligently planning for future growth which also means future residential and commercial growth for Ponca City. A temporary casino is now on a 15-acre site in Osage County just east of the Arkansas River. When work begins on the site, job opportunities will be created and a better gaming attraction will come. The casino has doubled its number of employees.

University Center at Ponca City, housed at the ConocoPhillips complex in the north tower, has had a good year. This marks the 10th year UC has been providing college degrees for working adults. The enrollment continues to be strong with 350 enrolled per semester.

PDCA added over 2,500 new jobs in the three year period from 2005-2008 without adding a single new position at ConocoPhillips,” said PCDA’s Executive Director David Myers. “We know we can build this economy because we have done so.

Parker Pest Control is celebrating its 46th year in business. Richard L. Parker started the Company in Ponca City in September 1963.

Calie Jo’s Clothing Store Opens in Hartford Square

V&R Spindle Repair is currently housed at Pioneer Technology Center’s Business Incubator.

PCMC Now Offers Screening For Advanced Breast Cancer

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) begins a new mission and project with the use of the church’s land and resources through the construction of the Friendship Community Garden.

Quality Water Services In Operation 64 Years and Quality Pools, Spas Celebrates 30 Years

New Tourism Director Hired - Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce, executive, announces that Kristi Brown is the new tourism coordinator.
Tourism is housed at the Chamber office, Fifth Street and Grand Avenue Brown will fill the position that MaryBeth Moore has held for the past four years.
Moore has resigned to take a position at the University Multi Spectral Lab.

Professional Court Assistance opened by Susan Kirkbride and Mandy Gann.
The business is located in Pioneer Technology Center Business Incubator. They can assist in completing documents such as name changes, small claims, collections and wills as well as many other court documents.

Napolis Italian restaurant opens on North Fourteenth Street.

Sounds Incredible Celebrates 30 Years

Senior Circle now in its third year.

School District Buys Two Hybrid Vehicles for drivers education program

Fred Boettcher, longtime trial lawyer and active community participant, announced in April 2009 that he had moved his law office and resigned from both Boettcher, Boettcher & Lobaugh and Boettcher, Martin, Jean and Jackson.
His new firm name is Fred Boettcher Law and is located in the Esatman building

McDonald’s announced in January an investment of $2 million in a new facility in Ponca City replacing the 32-year-old restaurant on North Fourteenth Street.
The old facility was bulldozed in January and the new facility opened in April in the same location 2124 North Fourteenth Street.
The new McDonald’s enhanced service with new equipment, systems and products. One enhancement was the double lane drive-thru allowing two customers to order a the same time and be served.

A new 99-room Holiday Inn Express at 2809 North Fourteenth Street had a grand opening in January. The $3.5 million hotel, which began construction in August 2007, is accessible from North Fourteenth Street or Prospect Avenue.

Frocks and Fashion store featuring bridal wear, formal wear, mother’s and little girl dresses, opend at 405 East Grand Avenue this year.

Garrett Wranglers Restaurant opened at 421 South Fourteenth Street in the former location of Cornerstone in March.
The restaurant serves American Cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, operated by Gary Sisco, his sister Debra Wright and nieces Kenra Perryman and April Belair.

First Lutheran School has recently adjusted its middle school curriculum, offering Spanish, music and art in a more structured way, according to Principal Janet Goll. The school, which opened in 1953, also added Daycare Director Vanessa Peck to the staff last spring.

It’s been nine months since the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center — YMCA at Grand Avenue and Waverly Street and the project is nearly a quarter of the way completed.

All Star Advertising & Promotions, a Custom Laser Engraving Co., celebrated its first year this past June.

Cimarron Transit offering more Saturday service availability and new service areas top transit news for 2009.

May 1 Big Country Mobile Home Park changed ownership, new owners were Brad “Chip” Grimes, of Genoa, ILL., and Rick and Katrina Rickard of Fort Collins, CO. They operated as Colotex Ventures, LLP, a name derived from Rick and Katrina’s home in Colorado and Chip’s winter home in south Texas.

Ponca City received a 2009 Municipal Innovations Award in September for its citywide wireless broadband network from the Oklahoma Municipal League. The award, which recognizes the top innovation programs in the state, was for the city’s wireless mesh broadband network, which provides coverage to all city departments and gives unlimited free Internet service to all Ponca City residents.
City officials announced the free network last November during a demonstration of the system at Hutchins Memorial Auditorium.
“No city in Oklahoma has what we have today,” Mayor Homer Nicholson said then. “This is your tax money redeemed.”

Tim Ogden Opens New Local Recording Studio
Tim Ogden is the engineer, producer and owner of Atmosphere Productions Recording Studio. He moved to Ponca City last February from Wichita, Kan. and now operates his studio here.

September 2009 Fred Miller retired as general manager and Kenny Kissire became new new general manager of Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts located on Grand at the railroad tracks and was founded as Auto Electric Co. by Leonard Fawcett in 1924 and moved to the present location in 1934. Fawcett died in 1967and Bill Raulerson was made general manager. After Raulerson’s retirement in 1990, Fred Miller was named general manager.

LSI Foot Clinic, relocated in July from 3413 North Fourteenth Street. The modular building relocated south of Staples. The principals include Dr. Mark Nield and Dr. Reed Burk.

Hi-Fi Systems Opened Its Doors 10 Years Ago to provide to quality Whole House Audio Systems and Home Theater Systems to Ponca City and the surrounding area

City Passes Spray Paint Ordinance
Ponca City’s Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance in February which bans the sale of spray paint and indelible markers to minors. The ordinance went into effect May 1. It also makes it a crime for minors to be in possession of these items.

Stores which sell these items are required to check the I.D. of anyone purchasing them. The stores also will be required to post signs where the items are displayed and at the cash registers which state that spray paint and indelible markers shall not be sold to minors.

Another part of the ordinance, which went into effect Sept. 1, requires retail sellers to store or display the paint and markers in areas that are not accessible to the public without employee assistance.

Such an area might be a case or enclosure through which a customer might inspect the paint, a sectioned-off portion of a display area to which only customers 18 years of age or older are permitted to enter, or behind a counter which is continuously attended by a clerk,
City Attorney Kevin Murphy said in a letter to retailers.

City Commissioners took the action after a sharp increase in the number of vandalism cases reported to Ponca City Police which involved graffiti created by spray paint or permanent markers.

“Besides being expensive, time consuming and unfair to the property owners who must paint over the graffiti, the proliferation of graffiti tends to degrade neighborhoods and attracts unwanted elements to communities,” Murphy’s letter to merchants said.

Murphy said the ordinance does not apply to the transfer of an aerosol spray paint container or broad-tipped indelible marker from a parent to child, guardian to ward, employer to employee, teacher to student or in any other similar relationship when such transfer is for a lawful

Ponca Playhouse Opens New Space - In 1959, a small band of theatre lovers formed the Ponca Playhouse in response to the more lighthearted predecessor the Conoco Players. In 1960 the Playhouse received its Articles of Incorporation. The group met in living rooms planning and dreaming. Now, 51 years later, the organization is alive and well and has moved into its own performance space.

Originally, plays were held in the Civic Center Auditorium, a site unused except by the Playhouse until its resurrection as City Hall offices in 1994.

In the early years of the theatre the Playhouse presented two or three productions a year, using local directors. As the Playhouse grew productions were added to form a five-play season. The organization hired its first professional director in 1969, and continued using on-staff directors until 1987.

From 1987 to now, directors have been hired on a per-show basis for reasons of artistic variety and fiscal concerns.

At the time of the city hall building renovation the Playhouse left the Civic Center to begin performing its 1994-95 season in the Poncan Theater, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Between 1994 and 1996 Ponca Playhouse became a somewhat nomadic group — building sets in the unused First National Bank drive-thru, storing costumes in the large room above and using the drive-thru stations as their business office. Overflow costumes were stored in the Ponca City News office storage. Rehearsals were held wherever donated space might be found in church fellowship halls, a deserted funeral home, O’Reilley’s (Monger’s) auto parts shop and, even, that costume area above the bank drive-thru.

The Playhouse purchased, the old O’Reilleys space at 301 S. 1st from the Monger family. After some internal demolition and reconstruction of the building, it was ready to house the rehearsal area, the costume and construction shops and the business office. And now, beginning with its 2009-2010 season, performances will be at that location.

Ponca City’s Board of Education voted unanimously in January to change from a trimester schedule to a semester schedule for Ponca City High School.

City Receives $1 Million For Stabilization Program
A $1 million federal stimulus grant to Ponca City will mean better housing for several families over the next four years.

The two-part program will allow the city to purchase and rehabilitate seven to 10 abandoned or foreclosed homes, which then will be rented to low- to moderate-income families.

It also means the demolition of 50 to 75 substandard homes, freeing up existing residential lots for the construction of new in-fill homes in blighted neighborhoods.

The Summer of 2009 saw the start of Camp McFadden’s first resident summer camp, where three weeks were held for children ages 9-12 and 12-15.

Welborn Electric Inc., 300 East Central, celebrated 50 years in business recently. Welborn is a family business that was started by Pete Welborn, carried on by his son Richard, current owner, and managed now by Mark, son of Richard.

Rally Held at Poncan Theatre
The national economy may be throwing a curve like few have experienced, but Ponca City is in a stable environment, Mayor Homer Nicholson said in a “What’s Right With Ponca City” rally in May at The Poncan Theatre.

“We chose not to participate in the recession,” the mayor said. He called the rally “an opportunity to take inventory and count our blessings.”

OSU Wants To Partner With Ponca City
Oklahoma State University wants to be a partner with Ponca City, OSU President Burns Hargis said in May at the “What’s Right With Ponca City” rally at The Poncan Theatre.

Hargis said the Oklahoma State University Multi-Spectral Lab in the ConocoPhillips complex is a very important part of OSU’s future, and with an average salary of $90,000, UML is expected to grow by $150 million in the next 10 years.

Sidewalk Project Under Way - The long-awaited downtown sidewalk replacement project started June 29 and is expected to be finished before the Christmas shopping season, according to Traffic Engineering Manager Mike Lane.

The project will replace all of the sidewalks on the south and north sides of Grand Avenue starting at Third Street and working west to Oak Street. The sidewalks on First Street, north of Grand Avenue to the alley, also were replaced.

The project was a long time coming, Lane said, and he’s probably happier about the project starting than anyone else in Ponca City.

Animal Fees Approved - The Ponca City Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in April establishing fees for whelping permits and intact (un-neutered pet) permits. Commissioners approved an initial fee of $100 for an intact animal permit with an annual fee of $20 to renew the permit.

Likewise, commissions approved a $100 fee for the whelping permit — a permit that would permit an animal owner to birth dogs and cats. A new whelping permit is required for each litter and female animals may not birth more than one litter a year under the resolution.

The commission passed the spay-neuter ordinance in June 2008 to get a handle on the number of unwanted animals that are picked up and disposed of each year, City Attorney Kevin Murphy said. Pet owners were given the option to pay for a permit if they don’t want to spay or neuter a pet and to pay a fee for having a litter. The permit ordinance went into effect June 9.

Optometry Practice Open - Dr. Brian Zwanziger this year welcomed his wife, Dr. Jessica Zwanziger into their optometry practice at 521 East Hartford, formerly the office of Dr. J.C. Trotter. Their office accepts most insurance plans, including Soonercare, Medicaid, Medicare, VSP and many others.

Hospital Serves Community for 90 Years - Ponca City didn’t have a hospital when an influenza pandemic swept through northern Oklahoma in 1918. In response, the Chamber of Commerce opened a hospital on West Grand, also known as Jones Flats, on Dec. 3, 1919.

Ponca City Hospital had 14 beds and was run by an administrative committee that included L.K. Meek, Mrs. Claudia B. Baker, Mrs. Ed L. Donahoe, R.P. Baughman, W.H England and C.F. Calkins. A head nurse and two other nurses comprised the staff. During the first year, 540 patients were cared for in the hospital, 22 babies were born and there were 234 operations. The hospital quickly outgrew the original facility and in 1920, E. W. Marland funded a $22,000 addition that increased the bed capacity to 40.

After losing money for the first 14 months of operation, the Chamber of Commerce decided to get out of the hospital business. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita accepted an invitation by the Chamber to bring their healthcare ministry to Ponca City and took over management of the facility on January 18, 1921.

Hospital on the Hill
Soon, with 30 stove fires to be constantly watched and with patients crowded in the halls, in the operating rooms and even in the chapel, the hospital was considered a fire trap and the decision to build a new hospital was made.

E.W. Marland and the Chamber of Commerce took responsibility for raising funds for the new facility that would be located on land donated by Marland at the north edge of Ponca City at 14th and Virginia, the hospital’s current location. The “Hospital on the Hill,” a new 50-bed modern, “fireproof” facility, was considered at the time to be the finest hospital that could be built for $250,000. Nearly 6,000 people attended the house warming and dedication of the new facility on Nov. 2, 1926.

After World War II, a third expansion became necessary. This time the citizens of Ponca City financed the $244,000 project with two bond issues. This expansion brought the capacity of the hospital to 100 beds and added a new maternity floor and delivery room in 1948.

1962 Addition
Fourteen years later history repeated itself as overcrowding was once again an issue at the hospital. The solution was the construction of a new $1.8 million wing with 48 additional beds. The wing also included administrative and business offices, the kitchen, surgical suites, pharmacy, medical records, and fully equipped emergency and examining rooms. The project was completed in 1962.

1975 Expansion
Hospital officials broke ground on a $10 million expansion of the hospital in 1973. The project included the construction of a four-story, 184,626 square foot building, which is the main hospital building today.

The new building featured new and expanded intensive care facilities, improved emergency and outpatient facilities, along with new delivery rooms and surgical suites. A dedication ceremony was held on May 18, 1975. That same year the name of the hospital was changed to St. Joseph Medical Center of Ponca City, Inc.

New Name
In 1995, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita and the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother merged their healthcare ministries to form Via Christi Health System (VCHS). To better reflect the hospital’s affiliation with VCHS, the name was changed to Via Christi Oklahoma Regional Medical Center in 2001.

New Owner
Via Christi continued to operate the facility until it was sold on May 1, 2006 to a subsidiary of Community Health Systems (CHS) of Franklin, TN, one of the nation’s leading operators of general acute care hospitals. The name was changed to Ponca City Medical Center.

Since the change in ownership, several major projects have been completed. Many outdated buildings were demolished, the main parking lot was redesigned for more capacity, a dedicated women’s imaging center and an outpatient therapy center were opened on campus, and a new 17-bed emergency room was completed in July 2008.

Former Ponca Citian Brings Treatment to State - Dr. Bernard Fuh of Advanced Spinal Health rehabilitation facility at 6670 South Lewis Avenue, Suite 202 in Tulsa announces a new, effective treatment for scoliosis.

This treatment utilizes a non-surgical, all natural group of therapies to straighten the abnormal spinal curves in the back called scoliosis. Scoliosis affects 4.5 percent of the population, more often in women than in men. Scoliosis patients have a spine that often forms a C or an S shape.

Ponca City’s Board of Commissioners approved the city’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance in June.

Development Director Chris Henderson said the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been updating flood plain maps across the country and the mapping of Kay County was completed.

The new maps became effective on Sept. 25. Each community must also have a flood plain ordinance in place in order to participate in FEMA’s flood insurance program, Henderson said.

Ponca City has been a leader in flood plain management practices since 2002, when a storm caused severe flooding in parts of the city, Henderson said.

After that flooding storm, Ponca City adopted a stormwater utility fee to fund flood plain management and stormwater pollution prevention activities and projects.

Commission Discusses Sign Plan - Development Services Director Chris Henderson discussed sign clutter — and what to do about it — with the Ponca City Planning Commission in August.

Accompanied by photographs of Fourteenth Street and its plethora of signs, Henderson told the Planning Commission that during work on the city’s recently adopted Comprehensive Plan, sign clutter was one of the factors on which the consulting firm, Kendig Keast,

He said it was time to review and discuss the city’s sign ordinance and recommend specific amendments in accordance with the goals and action items contained in the Comprehensive Plan.

The current ordinance has been in effect for a number of years, and was amended to ban off-premise signs.

“The current ordinance is weak in a number of areas,” Henderson said. “It does not address temporary signs and banners and it is a nightmare from the Code Enforcement perspective.”

He said many banners found in front of convenience stores are free from beer companies and other product vendors. Those banners start drooping and do not reflect a positive image of the city, Henderson said.

“They are not critical for the success of a business, for beer sales and soft drink sales in particular, since prices are the same everywhere,” he said. Henderson said banners at Fourteenth Street and Highland Avenue are a particular problem.

“Those banners are on state owned property, so they are not legal,” Henderson said. Henderson said if banners and signs are placed on the right-of-way, Code Enforcement officers pick them up and throw them away.

Banners which are attached to a flat surface, such as the side of a building, are harmless as long as they are well attached and permanent, he said. “Portable signs also are a mess,” he said. “They are not allowed in many places in Oklahoma or around the nation.
My recommendation is to ban them.”

The current ordinance requires business owners to obtain a city permit for portable signs for no more than a 10-day period and then remove them, Henderson said. Henderson said Ponca City needs to direct its ordinance toward modern technology and allow modern signage with LED reader boards.

“We need to embrace and permit that technology. Even billboards are moving that direction,” he said. Planning Commission members asked Henderson about allowing banners and signs for nonprofit groups.

“The ordinance has to be content-neutral,” Henderson said. “We can’t allow signs for the rodeo and ban signs for beer. We have to ban the type of sign, not the copy that’s on the sign.” The current ordinance does not address LED reader boards, but instead addresses flashing

“That’s one of the areas where it is weak,” Henderson said. Henderson also said the city needs to include a spacing requirement when it revises the sign ordinance, to prevent signs from one business from masking another business’ sign. “That accounts for the clutter along Fourteenth Street, because the signs are too close to one another and they mask one another. We need to properly space the signs.”

The Planning Commissioners agreed to have Henderson draft a proposed sign ordinance for its review at a future meeting. “The ordinance I bring to you will have spacing requirements and that will be the most effective requirement,” he said.

“Over time, it does work. We want the temporary and cheap signs to disappear.”

Head Country Food Products continues to produce Oklahoma’s top-selling barbecue sauce, says Paul Schatte, co-owner. The company tracks actual cash register sales through Information Resources, Inc.

“Thanks to our loyal customers, our presence in the barbecue sauce section of the grocery store strengthened during 2009,” he explains.

“For every 10 bottles of barbecue sauce purchased in Oklahoma, six of them are one of Head Country’s Original, Smokey or Hot flavors.”

Wall of Honor Recognizes Outstanding Local Leaders - Ponca City residents recognized the seven inaugural members of the Wall of Honor in September.

The Wall of Honor honors those outstanding leaders of Ponca City who have served as the city’s ambassadors at large, promoted the community, made long-term community enhancements, supported major projects and events, provided financial and inkind contributions, as well as invested personal time, skills and leadership for the betterment of Ponca City, Mayor Homer Nicholson said.

The seven inaugural members were Carl and Carolyn Renfro; Pat Evans and the late Jerry Evans; Gary Martin; and Fred and Suzanne Boettcher.

Chancellor Dr. Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education spoke at the dedication of the wall.

“Having the foresight to recognize and thank those who have given their time for Ponca City is just another indication of Ponca City’s strength,” Johnson said.

“It is obvious that Ponca City has been blessed with many residents who have given of themselves to ensure that the Ponca City community continues to grow and prosper,” Johnson said.

From its very rich Native American history to the pioneers, many people from Ponca City have played an important role in Oklahoma history and American history, Johnson said.

“Ponca City has endured and flourished for the past 116 years because of the people who live and work here,” Johnson said. “And the people of Ponca City have continued a tradition that started with the arrival of the earliest pioneers — the tradition of acknowledging the importance of giving back to the community.”

These honorees have done so with their leadership, their abilities, their gifts and sacrifices, he said.

The Wall of Honor was created by Steve Stobbe and John Brown of Stobbe Design. It is permanently located on the second floor of City Hall, 516 East Grand Avenue, immediately outside the Commission Chamber.

Tres Hermanas Wool Works at 314 East Grand Avenue converted to a custom design and weaving studio earlier this year.

Gloria Galasso said the shop will continue to order specialty yarns and supplies for customers, but the business has changed its focus to custom work.

Galasso is working on saddle blankets for the Multicultural Rodeo and the 101 Ranch Rodeo next summer, as well as tapestries and other pieces for her show at the Ponca City Art Center next June.

Galasso was commissioned to create the 101 Ranch Rodeo’s 50th Anniversary Queen’s trophy saddle blanket in 2009, which the shop donated. The saddle blanket was woven with wool yarn in hand-dyed colors.

City Commissioners Grant Extensive Plan - City commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance in June adopting Ponca City’s Comprehensive Community Plan.; Bret Keast of Kendig Keast Collaborative, the consultant who worked with Ponca City over the past year to develop the plan, gave an overview of the work that went into the document and the topics it addresses during a public hearing before the vote.

Keast told commissioners the work picked up on the effort that went into the Vision 2020 document and will be the basis for policy-making decisions for the city.

He said the citizens of Ponca City had participated heavily over the past year in creating the document, with focus groups, a citywide survey, a comprehensive plan committee that met monthly, an open house to explain the process and the document, a joint meeting between the City Commission and the Ponca City Planning Commission and public hearings.

The previous master plan was last updated in 1987. City Development Services Director Chris Henderson said different city departments have been working since 2000 to prepare plans for different elements that have now been included in chapters of the new plan.

Some of those include plans for water distribution, sanitary sewer, stormwater, historic preservation and trails.

Most, if not all, of the street projects programmed for construction in Ponca City’s previous Transportation Plan have either been constructed or are in the process of being designed, so the planning horizon was extended and future street projects were determined as well, Henderson said.

Collectively, all these plans have been integrated in an up-to-date Comprehensive Plan, the “blueprint for the future,” Henderson said.

Keast outlined the seven chapters of the plan, addressing needs which were identified during the process and guidelines for addressing them.

They include a Community Overview; Future Land Use and Character; Growth Capacity; Transportation; Housing and Neighborhoods; Economic Development and Implementation.

A Master or “Comprehensive” Plan is required by state law for cities that administer a zoning and subdivision ordinance and otherwise adopt building codes. It is also required for a city to be eligible for a number of grant programs, Henderson said.

The plan includes procedures for monitoring and reporting the city’s progress, ongoing outreach and coordination, an annual progress report, an annual review and amendment of the plan, a fiveyear evaluation report and interim plan update and a 10-year evaluation and update.Text