Ponca City Information
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Welcome to Ponca City, Oklahoma!
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Ponca City, Oklahoma.....Immerse yourself in our history!
PONCA CITY — In the 1920s and 1930s, two of the richest men in the world lived in Ponca City.
They made sure this town of about 25,000 people would have the iconic structures — and green space — that would stamp it as a world-class small city.
As a result, Ponca City has 29 parks, more than one for every 1,000 residents.
About 10 percent of the land in Ponca City is dedicated to park space. From spring through fall, city workers mow about 730 acres.
Lew Wentz and E.W. Marland made sure that parks were an important part of this town from the very start. As their businesses grew, and the town grew, the parks grew with them. This is a town that was born with fabulous parks.”
Ponca City is undergoing a renaissance of one of the state’s best city-owned park systems.
Projects at Lake Ponca, the largest park in the city system, are transforming the area just to the east of the city into a diverse recreational area.
Wilderness bike and running trails were recently completed in hopes of attracting national events.
Lake Ponca is also home to one of the state’s best public golf courses, two disc golf courses, a man-made swimming beach, a new deep-water boat ramp and the fabulous Lew Wentz pool, a 89-year-old facility that has been meticulously preserved over the years.
Lew Wentz camp, an area adjacent to the pool, has a dozen cabins that house about 100 children for various youth camps throughout the spring and summer.
Many Oklahomans have visited Ponca City parks over the years. Lake Ponca was home to the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned Ponca City Grand Prix, one of the nation’s top road race events in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It had a 1.5-mile road course that weaved around Lake Ponca Park with cars topping 100 mph.
We look at the new wilderness trails for biking and running as something that could be used in some of the modern bike and running races.
Plus, we’re always looking for ways to improve not only Lake Ponca but all of our parks. We have a lot to do and see in Ponca City. We are pretty much equal distance between Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Wichita. We’re in the middle of the country. We have opportunities to do some great things.”
Ponca City has taken some tough shots in the past decade or two. The two modern office buildings, where Conoco used to headquarter prior to 1949, are now empty. Recent job shifts also left the city with additional holes in its economy.
Still, the city has maintained a steady population and is growing areas that should help attract new interest.
That’s what Wentz and Marland intended 90 years ago.
No question they understood the importance of parks and green space to a city. You see how important parks can be to a city.
Some of the amenities desired by cities to lure new business and residents have been a part of Ponca City since the 1920s.
Ponca City may have set itself apart from so many other cities, especially cities our size, because of the vision of people like Lew Wentz and E.W. Marland. Yes, there are very noticeable things like the Marland Mansion and estates or all of the Lew Wentz facilities at Lake Ponca.
But they always kept the best interest of Ponca City at the top of the list. Everywhere you go in Ponca City there are these little pocket parks. They are tucked in just about every neighborhood. Those are the kind of things that lift the quality of life for those that live here.
Even Ponca City High School sits on the edge of a fabulous green space. In south Ponca City, where the refinery remains in operation, some of the industrial area has been transformed into parkland.
City parks have five splash pads. Ponca City also has “a really fabulous botanical garden,” and it operates a greenhouse that supplies up to 30,000 plants for city parks.
The people in Ponca City understand. They know they have a great park system, and are planning to pass these great parks onto the future of the city.
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