The latest US Census data shows that the fastest growing places in Oklahoma are Wagoner County, to the southeast of Tulsa and Rogers County to the northeast of Tulsa. It's that northern growth where Owasso finds itself, right at the crossroads.
News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg shows us the huge increase in retail activity that city leaders call the funnel.
Skiatook residents Tracie Moody and her sister Lorrie Admiral just about filled their SUV with shopping bags on their latest expedition to Owasso. Tracie: â€œI think it's wonderful. I think we need it; it just makes a huge difference. Although I would like a little more in Skiatook, I don't mind coming over here as long as I have things to choose from." Lorrie: "The Fuddruckers we enjoy that and the Walgreenâ€™s. It looks like they're putting new shops in there that's kind of fun.â€
The current hotbed is at 96th Street North, where the Smith Farm Shopping Center will soon open with half-a-million square feet of retail. And 2 miles north on Highway 20, they're breaking ground on a new grocery store and plans for a 300 or 400 home subdivision.
City leaders call it the funnel, pulling in people from Skiatook to the west, Collinsville to the north and Claremore to the east. Owasso Mayor Susan Kimball: â€œWe feel it's going to bring in a lot of clientele from the North, from the East, from the West because highway 20 is very easily accessible from all of those areas." Mayor Kimball says residents have consistently been asking for more big-city amenities. "That's exactly what's happening here. We've got two hospitals, we've got the shopping, we've got the restaurants and we just opened the bowling alley here. We've got movie theaters recently opened."
Owasso resident Ken Morey: "It's not just a bedroom community anymore. It's a community in itself." Local locksmith Ken Morey moved to Owasso in 1989. "1989, I believe we had four stoplights." He's not crazy about the new traffic, but he still likes the town. "We have planned growth and I think that's going to make a lot of difference."
That would be a good plan. In 1990, Owasso had 11,000 people. Now it's 23,000 people and it's not stopping any time soon.