Mannford invests in development on shores of Lake Keystone
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12/26/12 at 8:29 AM
MANNFORD - It's an un- assuming lake community of about 3,000 people, but a makeover that's in the works promises to give Mannford a lot more shine.
A marina, a floating restaurant, a retail area, improved campgrounds, new housing and the possibility of a new or expanded industrial facility are all projects under way or in the works.
The town itself has purchased key properties, partnered with the county industrial authority and touted its potential to those who can help spur growth.
"I think it will really change once (the Harbor at CrossTimbers) is in place and there's more retail, and when there's more retail there will be new rooftops," Town Administrator Mike Nunneley said.
Lake developments: Ron Howell, the developer of CrossTimbers at Skiatook Lake, became sold on Mannford after observing that Lake Keystone is more than twice the size of Skiatook Lake but has about half as many boat slips, Nunneley said.
As soon as the Harbor at CrossTimbers was announced, Nunneley said, six empty lots in the nearest subdivision were sold.
Construction has started on the first 130 marina slips, with opening on Memorial Day expected.
Builders are expected to start on the marine store and floating restaurant in September, with completion by Memorial Day 2014.
Mannford also has taken over the operation of the Salt Creek campgrounds from the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to improve the site's recreational amenities and bring more visitors to the area.
Retail and industrial: About six years ago, the town purchased 89 acres of pasture on the north side of Oklahoma 51 just west of Mannford and Poplar Avenue for $810,000.
The property was annexed into the town limits with the hope of bringing new retail to the area.
Based on a traffic count through Mannford of 14,000 vehicles a day, that might have been have a good bet.
"Compared to other cities our size, most run about 7,000" vehicles a day, Nunneley said. "This count was taken in October, so it was not a 'lake traffic' count."
The town has sold 14.5 acres of that property for $710,000 for a variety of retail uses.
Phelps Market, in Mannford for more than 40 years, plans to build a much larger grocery store at the site, and American Heritage Bank in Mannford is under contract to build a new bank there.
Supermarket Developers Inc. of Kansas City, the real estate arm of Associated Wholesale Grocers, bought 4.58 acres.
Tallgrass LLC of Edmond, which deals with fast-food restaurants, has purchased a 1-acre lot.
Wedgewood LLC of Bristow bought 7.02 acres and plans to build a retail center that will lease to national chains, Nunneley said.
The state Department of Transportation has agreed to put in a new traffic light after the grocery store is complete, he said.
Another 40 to 45 acres of the town's property is being reserved for industrial development.
Nunneley said Mannford has partnered with the Creek County Industrial Authority, which has launched other industrial parks in Sapulpa, Bristow and Drumright.
"We have a couple of companies that might be interested in expanding or relocating," he said.
Greg Pugmire, director of the Creek County Industrial Authority, said its mission is to stimulate job growth.
"There's been no attention to that extreme northern part of the county, and they're certainly deserving," Pugmire said.
"Nunneley makes a pretty convincing argument that Mannford is a diamond in the rough, and once Tulsa discovers it, good things are going to happen for everybody."
Housing: In October, the town approved a $315,000 purchase for 90 lots in the Lake Country subdivision, a blend of manufactured and brick homes.
New construction to finish the development has been stymied in past decades, but the infrastructure and utilities are already in place, and it's only about a mile from the Harbor Marina at CrossTimbers.
"We will sell to a developer (or) to individuals. We have it priced at $5,000 a lot," Nunneley said, adding that there are rarely six or seven homes for sale at one time in Mannford.
"We stay about 99.9 percent fully occupied," he said.
"When I moved here eight years ago, there were three empty houses to look at. Our Realtors don't have listings; they have lists of people waiting for something to come open."
Nunneley likes to stress how close Mannford is to Tulsa. He's timed it himself - 17 minutes, and there's no stop light until you reach downtown if you stay on Oklahoma 51 and U.S. 412.
"It's a closer commute than Bixby or Broken Arrow," he said.
"People don't think about it. From any of the downtown places, you could be on your jet ski or your boat by 5 p.m. every night if you got off work at 4:30 p.m."
Original Print Headline: Lakeside Mannford poised for growth wave
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
A new boat ramp has been built at the Harbor at Cross Timbers on Lake Keystone near Mannford. STEPHEN PINGRY/ Tulsa World