, Muskogee, OK

February 23, 2014

City sees big changes

Muskogee officials say it’s just the beginning

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Wider, smoother streets are just a few of the advances Muskogee residents can see.

Over the past 10 years, the city also has seen major improvements in its sewer system and stormwater drainage. It also is working to improve its housing stock and appearance.

That’s just the beginning, city officials say.

For example, a comprehensive plan adopted in 2012, helps the city plan its development and physical improvements.

“The plan provides a foundation for decision-making based on community consensus, community visioning, and an existing conditions analysis,” said Gary Garvin, Muskogee planning and community development director. “We will be working with public and private sectors to improve the overall property appearance, particularly as it relates to buildings, signage and parking areas. We want to improve the entrances into the community to immediately signify to visitors that Muskogee is an attractive and inviting city.”

Part of the plan involves expanding housing options within Muskogee’s original townsite and downtown, he said.

Garvin said the city seeks to “continue to provide high-quality city services and maintain adequate infrastructure and utilities throughout the community.”

This is where some of the major road, sewer and stormwater drainage improvements come in.

Reconstruction of 24th Street from Okmulgee Avenue to Shawnee Bypass, plus improvements to Martin Luther King Street from 12th to 24th Street, could be completed by September 2016. Crews already are working on widening York Street between Hancock Street and Peak Boulevard to five lanes. These projects are funded by a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved in 2009.

City crews also are working on 15 road resurfacing projects, funded by a $2.5 million grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation.

The city also seeks to solve neighborhood flooding problems with stormwater detention basins. Crews are working on a stormwater detention basin southeast of the York Street and Chandler Road intersection. A second basin is on a five-acre tract north of Chandler Road between Anthony Street and David Lane.

Crews also are wrapping up work replacing city sewer lines.

The city planning department has other goals, Garvin said.

One goal involves providing housing that supports the current population and accommodates future growth, Garvin said.

“We will work towards stabilizing and improving Muskogee’s older residential areas, primarily located within the original townsite, to protect property values and investments and improve the overall health and safety of residents.”

The city is progressing in other areas.

For example, over the past decade, the Muskogee Fire Department acquired a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) unit to help it handle hazardous material, said Muskogee Fire Chief Derek Tatum. The fire department was able to use the unit to help respond to tornadoes that devastated Moore last May.

“And we are all emergency responders now,” Tatum said, referring to his firefighting crews.

Tatum said the next 10 years for the fire department will see advances in technology and science.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

City of Muskogee

ADDRESS: Muskogee Municipal Building, 229 W. Okmulgee Ave.

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SERVICES OFFERED: Municipal governmental services.


KEY PERSONNEL: City manager, Howard Brown Jr.; Public Works director, Mike Stewart; City attorney, Roy Tucker; City clerk, Pam Bates; Planning and Community Development director, Gary Garvin; Fire chief, Derek Tatum; Police chief, Rex Eskridge; Parks and Recreation director, Mark Wilkerson.

PHONE: (918) 682-6602.