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Broken Arrow Is Focused on the Future

Residents are benefiting from a wealth of new developments and cultural amenities.

By Joe Morris on April 13, 2023

The Rose District in Broken Arrow, OK
Chris Lo

It’s said that retail follows rooftops and, in Broken Arrow’s case, the same comment could be made about cultural amenities.

That’s because as the area continues to grow, offerings of all kinds are either coming online or significantly expanded and upgraded. Here’s a look at the new developments in Broken Arrow.

War at Home Memorial in Broken Arrow, OK
City of Broken Arrow

War at Home Memorial

For instance, the War at Home Memorial is the latest from Mission 22, which has created spaces to honor veterans who have lost the “war at home,” meaning battles with post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and military sexual trauma (MST).

A dedication was held in June 2022 at Broken Arrow Veterans Park for the War at Home Memorial, which features 20 1,000-pound steel silhouettes set in granite. Each silhouette is 10 feet tall and bears the name and likeness of military veterans who died by suicide.

Most of Mission 22’s staff are veterans, spouses of veterans or have family members who have served. The organization provides personalized support and resources to veterans, a slate of services that ranges from biometric monitoring of stress, sleep and activity levels to coaching, exercise and wellness.

The organization says it also has an ambassador program of more than 3,500 veterans and civilians in all 50 states and worldwide, working to advance society’s collective understanding of issues faced by both active service members and veterans.

Rosy Outlook in Broken Arrow

Downtown Broken Arrow’s historic Rose District also has a beautiful new gathering spot. The Brown- Kimbrough Center for Arts, Innovation & Creativity was recently built to be a creative place where people of all types can gather.

The new center features workspaces for painting, sculpture, videography, music, ceramics, photography and culinary arts as well as community meeting space and classrooms.

The Brown-Kimbrough Center is the latest project to blossom in the Rose District. It joins shops and businesses in the historic district, a walkable community with unique shops, businesses, entertainment venues and restaurants.

The district, a part of Broken Arrow’s Main Street, took its name from the city’s earliest days, when local leaders asked residents to beautify the area and people responded with rose bushes, leading to Broken Arrow’s early nickname as the “City of Roses.”

In addition to a rezoning, the district’s $4 million makeover also includes a pedestrian-friendly redesign including fewer traffic lanes, wider sidewalks, mid-block crossing and additional landscaping.

Broken Arrow Senior Center in Oklahoma
Broken Arrow Senior Center

Planned Senior Annex

This is a community that cares about residents of every age, and its seniors can now enjoy the new Senior Center Annex.

This 12,400-square-foot facility, operated by the city and Broken Arrow Seniors, is across the street from the Broken Arrow Senior Center, a bustling locale since its 1988 opening. The Senior Center currently serves more than 1,600 members ages 55 and above.

The center offers more than 75 activities, or around 250 sessions a month, alongside educational opportunities, health screenings and a nutrient program.

The amenities at the new site include pickleball and cornhole and it offers programming that features activities like mahjong, chess and a theater workshop. A 1,500-square-foot fitness center has new exercise equipment, including machines for cardio, strength and general conditioning.

Programming is also in place to help members create their own exercise plans that suit their specific needs and goals.

Other elements of the building include multipurpose activity rooms, theater room, catering kitchen and smaller activity rooms. Its parking lot ties into the trail at the nearby Arrowhead Park Softball Complex, creating another community connection.

Future Project: Innovation District

A new Innovation District business/industrial park is being planned for South Broken Arrow near the Tulsa Technology Center campus, with officials hoping the first building will be constructed on the 90-acre site around 2026.

In 2022, Broken Arrow was awarded a $24,000 grant from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce so the city could hire a consultant for the proposed Innovation District.

The property will include some residential, retail and entertainment components. “The city owns the 90 acres, and the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is managing the project’s process,” says Jennifer Conway, president and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and EDC. “It’s an ideal site close to the highway, and Tulsa International Airport is only 15 miles away.”

A Bright Future

The Innovation District’s main goal will be to attract high-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing and life sciences.

Conway says the project is in the early stages, and the first part will be to get the property shovel-ready.

“Infrastructure work will start with a $9 million bond package passed by citizens in 2018 that we are utilizing, and there are a couple of other revenue sources,” she says. “We hope to be moving dirt by 2024 and break ground on a building by 2026, but it will probably be earlier than that.”

The City of Broken Arrow purchased the 90 acres for $5 million in 2021, specifically for developing an Innovation District.

“High-paying career opportunities will help keep locally grown talented individuals in Broken Arrow,” she says. “It’s a vital project for the continued success and growth of our business community.”

Staff Writer Kevin Litwin contributed to this article.

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