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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

2015

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2015 — New Kay County officials were sworn in to office Friday morning by Associate District Judge Philip Ross. Paul Skidmore, County Commissioner for District No. 3; Susan Keen, County Assessor; and Vance Johnson, County Commissioner for District No. 1. Judge Ross will soon be sworn in as District Judge, replacing the retired Judge D.W. Boyd.

New Building Taking Shape - Construction moves forward Saturday on a production building for M J & H Fabrication Inc. located at 2120 Hall Boulevard in the Airport Industrial Park. The company specializes in fabrication of pressure vessels, process piping, structural steel and skids for industries as diverse as Petroleum, Chemical, Forestry and Environmental Engineering.

Commission Reviews Changes - In the first city meeting of 2015, the Planning Commission of Ponca City considered changes in zoning to an area annexed into the city limits some three decades ago.
Acreage just south of Hubbard Road at the extreme north end of Ponca City was incorporated into the city in 1982. The discussed parcel of land is currently zoned as residential, but is for all intents, purposes, and usage already an industrial park.
A property owner has submitted a petition concerning a tract of land located south of the 700-800 block of East Hubbard Road, specifically located at 3908 Sante Fe Road. A cluster of commercial-slashlight industrial properties have been located near where the BNSF railroad tracks cross Hubbard Road since before the city annexed the property.
The properties discussed are currently zoned R-1 Single Family Residential, and would be reclassified as I-1 Light Industrial. According to history prepared by Developmental Services Director Chris Henderson and staff, when the annexation occurred the current use of the properties was not recognized or reflected in the ordinance and the entire area was zoned residential at that time.
There are adjacent tracts of land where commercial or industrial use buildings have been more recently erected, and those properties are already zoned accordingly as light industrial. The remainder of the properties in the immediate area remain zoned residential, and as such are effectively non-conforming land uses.
The owner of the parcel of land located at 3908 Sante Fe wishes to expand his building, and when the application process for a building permit began it was immediately determined that the existing
machine shop on the property is not a conforming use of the land and therefore could not be enlarged or expanded under its current zoning classification. In recommending that the board vote to recommend the zoning classification amendment, Henderson went on to point out that it would be advisable to rezone number of adjoining properties to a more correct classification at the same time.
Board members first voted unanimously, with little discussion and no dissension, to approve the recommendation to the Board of Commissioners of Ponca City that the property owner’s petition be approved.
After a more detailed deliberation, the Planning Commission then voted to recommend the Developmental Services proposal that the adjoining properties be rezoned as well.

The forms have been set for a series of new affordable homes being constructed in the area of Hazel Avenue and Highland Avenue in the Hampton Heights addition on the west side of the city.

Red iron in the air west of the Mertz manufacturing facility on North Waverly indicates a new facility matching or about the size of the present plant is being built.

Quarter Turn Resources is erecting a new building at the in-town location at 1202 West Summit. The main manufacturing plant is on west old Highway 60. The building permit information indicates the valuation of structure at $56,000.

Lt. Governor Visits Ponca City - On a mission to visit 77 counties in 77 days, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb made a swing through Kay County on Wednesday. He stopped at the production plant of Head Country for a tour and luncheon with a group of community leaders.

Tribune Media Drops Channels From The Cable ONE Line-Up — Ponca City — Cable ONE announced today that Tribune Media has dropped their channel — KFOR NBC and KAUT My Network — from Cable ONE’s channel line-up.

Dorada Foods has jobs with a hiring event set for Tuesday from 1 to 7 p.m. at Pioneer Technology Center, 2101 North Ash Street. Positions available include maintenance mechanic, maintenance supervisor, production superintendent, production supervisor, general production, sanitation worker and administration. The jobs are the result of a multimillion dollar construction expansion nearing completion. Dorada has been in business since 2011 and employs 225 people. With the expansion, they will add over 100 additional people.

The Board of Commissioners of Ponca City approved the appointment of new City Attorney Michael R. Vanderburg in its first regular session meeting of the new year Monday.
Commissioners voted unanimously to go forward with Vanderburg’s hiring. The new city attorney was sitting in the meeting in the place of recently retired Kevin Murphy, who had held the position for a 33-year tenure. Vanderburg’s term of office will officially begin on January 29.

Cable Rates To Increase - The City of Ponca City has received notice that Cable One will raise its customer rates effective in February, according to City Manager Craig Stephenson.

Nearing completion is the new overflow bridge located on West Hubbard Road between P and R streets and immediately east of the existing Chikaskia River Bridge as shown early today. The project began June 2 with an original estimated completion time of 120 days. Due to rain and localized flooding, the time frame was first extended about 60 days, subject to weather. Later, snow and cold weather pushed the completion back even further. Resident engineer Ted Zachary of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the bridge is completed except for a few deck details which require weather of 40 degrees or more. Asphalt roadway work approaching the bridge also requires similar warmer weather for completion. Zachary’s best estimate for final completion is early February. The contractor on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation project is B and B Bridge Company LLC of St. Paul, Kan.

Cookshack, Inc. of Ponca City was ranked in the Top 40 Workplaces for Business in Oklahoma with fewer than 125 employees

Secretary of Transportation To Make Special Presentation - Mark you calendars now for noon Jan. 29 to attend a special presentation of Ponca Politics with Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley. The public is encouraged to attend and find out the state of roads in Oklahoma and the area. Also present will be Director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Mike Patterson. The event is at City Hall in the City Commission room. Lee Evans, chairman of Ponca Politics, will be master of ceremonies.

Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) at the Thursday meeting authorized Executive Director David Myers to engage in efforts to lease 130 acres of farm land in the West Ranch Industrial Park. The land had previously been leased to a farmer, who is now deceased. Myers said there are a couple of interested parties.

Road construction on US Highway 60 continues in the area of Waverly Street westwards towards the Bois D’Arc Creek area as the highway is being widened for additional lanes.

Senator Jim Inhofe piloted his plane into Ponca City Friday afternoon to meet a few constituents and the press to give an update expected legislation to be presented in approaching Congressional session.

Roofing work is in progress at Woodlands Elementary School. The campus is closed this school year for a complete renovation, thanks to a bond issue voted by school district voters. Students are attending school at the former Washington Elementary campus. Next school year Trout Elementary will undergo a similar renovation with students attending the Washington campus.

Reduction in Euthanizations in City - There has been a substantial reduction in animal euthanizations in Ponca City, according to statistics presented by Police Chief Don Bohon at Tuesday night’s quarterly meeting of the Animal Control Board.
Bohon showed numbers of animals handled, euthanized, and released to the board, with numbers dropping by a significant percentage in all three aspects of the city’s efforts to humanely handle strays.
Averaged over five years from 2009-2013, the city had been forced to euthanize some 1,059 animals each year, with a high of 1,202 in the year 2011 and the previous low coming in calendar year 2013, with 916 euthanizations.
That number dropped by another 184 animals in 2014, to 732, representing a 39 percent reduction from the high of 2011 and a 31 percent reduction from the average over the previous five years.

Deal Signed For Rib Crib Property - A deal was signed Tuesday by partners Joe Dempewolf and Danny Head to sell the property at 1209 E. Prospect to Rib Crib. The current building will be demolished and a new structure of more than 4,400 square feet and with the valuation of $500,000, will be built.
Construction of the new Rib Crib building will be by Joseph Varley Construction Inc., of Fairbault, Minn., according to Ponca City Development Authority. The new restaurant seating capacity is 166. Other area locations include Stillwater and Bartlesville.
The building, which will be torn down, was originally constructed for Western Sizzlin’ Steak House. It was later occupied by Home Health Care Agency for a time, which was a Via Christi at Home Health Service provided by Via Christi Hospital, previous owner of Ponca City Medical Center. Most recently, the building was occupied by Vitacare at Home, which has moved to 3209 N. 14th St.

Refurbishment Of Walking Paths To Begin - The City of Ponca City received a $75,000 grant from Phillips 66 to install new playground equipment at McGraw Park. Jim Sindelar, Parks and Recreation Director, applied for a onetime special grant offered by Phillips 66 for Environmental and Safety related projects. Sindelar received notification at the end of December 2014 that the application had been approved.

Agencies Conduct Massive Drug Raid - Members of the Kay County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and District 8 Task Force, Osage County, and Ponca City Police conducted Operation Can You Hear Me Now before sunrise on Friday. Law enforcement targeted 18 suspects who have been under investigation for over a year, according to officials.

Hearing Set For New Bike Trails - The Parks and Recreation Board of Ponca City will hold a special public hearing Tuesday at City Hall to take comments on a proposed mountain bike trail development adjacent to Lake Ponca. A committee studying the proposal has recommended approval to the Park Board after considerable research and two lengthy meetings discussing the project. The committee agreed that the proposed project would enhance the Lake Ponca Recreation Area, providing another alternative recreation opportunity. The proposed trail would start at Wentz Camp before making a long loop to Hubbard Road and back, and would be forged by a burgeoning group of local off-road bicycling enthusiasts.
Leading the proponents is local businessman Roy Pemberton, who presented the initial proposal. Pemberton started a Facebook page a year ago to gauge the level of interest in the area, and the page has received over 300 “likes” thus far.
A local group of enthusiasts has also forged relationships with the Oklahoma Earthbike Fellowship and the International Mountain Bicycle Association. The same group recently worked to install a successful trail system in the Kaw Lake area.
There is a consensus among local enthusiasts that a closer and more accessible set of trails closer to Ponca City would receive even more regular use.

“The City of Ponca City and the Parks and Recreation Department are happy to have received this grant. This opportunity will allow us to install playground equipment that we had not planned to do in the near future,” stated Sindelar.
The playground will have a specific theme, and bids for the project are in progress. Parks and Recreation is looking at equipment that has a nature and rescue theme that will allow the bordering trees to remain a part of landscape, and it will tie into the existing sidewalks to make the playground handicap accessible and useable.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 26, work will begin to reconstruct approximately 1,400 linear feet of walking trail in War Memorial Park. The section of the path to be refurbished is located along the west side of North Seventh Street, north of the tennis courts, and loops around the north side of the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium and before ending along the east side of North Fifth Street, southwest of the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium.
The existing deteriorated asphalt trail is being replaced with a new concrete pavement trail section. This is the second of three phases of work to replace the entire trail loop around War Memorial Park.
During construction, this section of walking trail must be closed to pedestrian traffic while the old section of trail is removed and the new section is constructed. The approximate construction time for this project is 45 calendar days, barring any delays due to inclement weather. The City of Ponca City has entered into a contract with Hembree and Hodgson Construction, LLC of Ponca City to perform this improvement project.
Any questions regarding this project may be directed to Hembree and Hodgson Construction, LLC at 580-762-0280 or to the City Engineering Department at 580-767-0383.

City’s Parking Standards Top Board Meeting - An initial reading of an ordinance that would amend “use standards” concerning the parking and storage of recreational vehicles — a definition that includes motor homes, boats, and personal watercraft, ATV and motorcycle trailers — prompted several community comments at the Board of Commissioners regular session meeting Monday night in Ponca City, demonstrating dissension with the draft recommendation of the Planning Board.
At the direction of the City Commission following several work session discussions, Developmental Services Director Chris Henderson surveyed the residential parking policies of some 20-plus similar communities within Oklahoma.
A part of that research included the issue of the parking of motor vehicles in the front yards of homes. The communities surveyed uniformly do not allow vehicles parked on anything other than a hard surface, Henderson told the commission, stating that all comparable communities require that cars and trucks be parked in a driveway or another hard surface contiguous to a driveway.
“Our department continues to get calls from neighbors who do not like cars parked on the grass in their neighborhood,” Henderson said.
Vehicles parked in driveways are not to block the sidewalk. That is partially to allow pedestrian foot traffic, but is also designed to preserve sight lines for drivers exiting adjacent properties — in effect, the idea is to allow a motorist a clear view of the street in both directions when backing into the roadway. In addressing the same issue with larger vehicles, the proposed restrictions found objections among members of the community who spoke before the commission.
“An RV is addressed a little differently,” Henderson said. “With those types of vehicles, we have added that they cannot be parked any closer than 12 feet from the back of the curb.”
Henderson went on to say that in addition to the sight issue, the idea is to preserve what he referred to as “maintaining scale.”
“If a house is set back from the street 50 feet, there shouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “Recreational vehicles can be defined as campers, travel trailers, ATVs, boats...But the only thing we ever really get complaints on is motor homes — big motor homes.”

City To Conduct Internet Survey According to a press release, the City of Ponca City is conducting a survey of its residents to help evaluate the need and demand for super high speed internet services over a fiber optic network.
City Manager Craig Stephenson announced at Monday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting that a flyer concerning the survey will be included in the next billing cycle of the Ponca City Utility Authority, directing residents to the dedicated website where the survey results will be collected.
City of Ponca City residents and businesses are encouraged to complete a short survey, as well as obtain more information, at www.poncacityfiber.com, in order to gauge public interest in getting super high speed internet through Ponca City. The survey can either be completed online or downloaded and submitted anonymously to the Ponca City Utility Authority Billing Office located at City Hall.
The city has made considerable investments in the infrastructure required to provide internet service, and currently provides broadband hard line service to some 65 local businesses. That effort could be expanded to provide service to paying home-use customers. “Operating fiber optic internet to Ponca City businesses for over 15 years, the City of Ponca City has over 360 miles of fiber optic cable installed.
With more municipal owned fiber optic cable than 99 percent of the communities in Oklahoma and the experience to ensure it performs at a superior level, the City of Ponca City is now considering the provision of high speed internet into homes, as well as businesses that are not already Ponca City customers,” said Stephenson. “Providing fiber to a home or business is often called ‘Fiber to the Premise’.”
Fiber optic cable consists of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting data by light waves. Fiber optics have several advantages over traditional metal communications lines, as it is not affected by rain, snow, ice, or lightning.

Re-Opening of Cherokee Strip Credit Union’s Waverly Branch - Significant Cherokee Strip Credit Union’s Waverly Branch, located at 1508 West Hartford, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their grand re-opening on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Following the ribbon cutting, the community was welcomed to join the celebration with light refreshments and fellowship. Due to the addition of nearly 200 new members per month in 2014 and a quadruple increase in loan production, this addition was reopened just in time to help serve the quickly growing credit union.

Ross Health Care Expands; Now Located In Ponca City, Stillwater With the purchase of Image Hospice locations in Ponca City and Stillwater late last summer, Ross Health Care has expanded its reach in Oklahoma. “I am very pleased to add these locations to our network of offices throughout Oklahoma, they have an excellent reputation in delivering superior patient care to their patients and families” stated Hank Ross, CEO of Ross Health Care.
Ross Health Care founded by Hank Ross 12 years ago, has become of the largest and most comprehensive home care companies. Ross has a variety of services including home health, hospice, private duty, and is a case management company for the Oklahoma Advantage program.

Leaders Honored at Chamber Banquet - The Ponca City Chamber of Commerce banquet on Thursday evening proved that volunteers can still have fun while helping the community.

  • Passing the Gavel of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce chairmanship is Barry Bickle, to Bill Coleman, the 2015 chairman.
  •  Lee Evans, was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award, by Kelly Johnson, the 2014 recipient. Evans is the third person in the Evans family to receive the award.
  • Consolidated Oil Well Services District Manager Tom Batt expresses appreciation for the Industry of the Year award.
  •  Bill Thomason was presented the Volunteer of the Year by last year’s honoree Ann Bandy.
  • Diane Anderson was presented the Larry Hughes Leadership Award by Terron Liles, last year’s recipient.
  • Sears owner Jeff Lee, store manager Todd Sheffield accepted the Business Partner of the Year Award.
  • Rod Alexander, Lew Wentz Municipal golf professional, received the Gary Martin Outstanding City Employee Award.

The sign at Bank of the West was taken down Friday morning on Hartford Avenue. Eastman National Bank will add a third location in Ponca City in the bank building.

Attucks Community Alliance Receives Phillips 66 Grant - The Attucks Community Alliance received a special grant from Phillips 66 under their Health and Safety pillar of giving.
The Alliance requested $20,000 from Phillips 66 in December of 2014 to provide Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) training for a specified number of trainees.
Chairman of Attucks Community Alliance Dwain West said that the “training will target organizations on the west and south side of Ponca City that may not have the funds for this type of training, but will benefit from the trainings.”
The CPR and AED training is in collaboration between the Alliance and Phillips 66. Willie Street, physician assistant at Phillips 66 Ponca City Medical, and Jake Pierce, paramedic, both American Heart Association certified instructors, will lead the five-hour training.