It's one of the closest, cleanest lakes to Tulsa, but surprisingly it's never been developed, until now.
Business and government leaders closed a deal Wednesday that could turn Skiatook Lake into a prime resort and vacation spot. As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, spirits are sky-high in Skiatook.
So close to Tulsa, but so far away from development. Ron Howell with StateSource Development, "We think most Tulsans have never been to Skiatook Lake, and it's probably the cleanest lake in Oklahoma, it's beautiful." And this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
The Skiatook Economic Development Authority signed a deal with a Tulsa-based private developer StateSource to create the Cross-Timbers resort, with a lodge, campgrounds, marina, and championship golf course. The small town of Skiatook can only imagine what the influx of tourists could mean for the local economy.
Blu Hulsey, Skiatook Town Coordinator, "Just having the atmosphere of a lake community with the facilities of a golf course, convention center, a lot of different facilities that we don't have out there currently, it just adds to the sophistication and progress of the community."
In a nearby wooded area in about three years, they hope to have the golf course, on one side of the lake, in about a year; they hope to have the lodge and the other campgrounds. It's a little tough to imagine right now, but it was even tougher to picture before the feds relaxed their rules on private development.
Howell, "It's been very difficult for development to occur on Corps lakes, on federally owned lakes." Skiatook Lake is part of a pilot program, one of a small handful of lakes across the country where the Army Corps of Engineers is allowing private development. If it goes well, there may be more.
What's envisioned is like state lodges, without all the problems state lodges have been experiencing of late. Howell, "We just think things are always done in a little bit better fashion if you have the private sector doing it, it's very difficult to do these things in a government sense."
It took Skiatook a long time, but they see smooth sailing ahead. Developers say the resort will cater to all price ranges.