After last summer's devastating fires to the city and residents of Mannford, the city is announcing about twenty million dollars in city improvements in the next two years.
One of those improvements is already under construction and set to be finished in two weeks. It's crunch time for the workers at CrossTimbers The Harbor on Keystone Lake. The marina will open with 130 boat slips, a ship store, a gas dock, and a restaurant. But all those things aren't finished just yet.
"We have pavement going down in the next two weeks, our fuel system will be operational, the restaurant will be operational," says Dustin Huff, the General Manager of CrossTimbers.
Even though the marina will be the first growth project to be complete, there are several other projects underway. The Town Administrator Mike Nunneley says there are paving projects, retail development projects, and a major housing addition growth happening. He has lived in Mannford for eight years now and says now is the time for the city to grow.
"Cities live and die off sales tax, and probably the majority of ours goes into Sand Springs or into Tulsa, and it's just time for us to be able to offer our citizens a place to both dine and shop for the things they need," Nunneley says.
Since homes are already starting to be built and the dirt work is happening for the retail development, Nunneley says this will attract more opportunities.
"As one or two national chains come in, the other national chains wait and see who does what, as soon as they do, then they jump on board. So it's kind of a domino effect, and they are beginning to fall right now," Nunneley says.
With the new marina, the city is already seeing more traffic on weekends just to check out the area. The Harbor will be hiring 30 people to work at the Mannford location. Both Huff and Nunneley say this location is just 19 minutes from Tulsa, so weekday boaters can easily make it out to have a good time. But they are also hoping to bring in out-of-town boaters to the area.
"We aren't so much looking for existing boaters on this lake. We are also looking for new boaters, whether it's from the Oklahoma City markets, Stillwater markets, or elsewhere," says Huff.
Nunneley says they are working to get a hotel to come to Mannford because a lot of weekend boaters are from Kansas or other Oklahoma cities, and they would need a place to stay.
OJ'S Restaurant, which was damaged by a fire five months ago will re-open in May, and in two weeks, the city will announce a national food chain will be opening a restaurant there too.
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