Commissioners talk growth, development, Highway 20 bypass

Rogers County Commissioners Ron Burrows and Steve Hendrix provided a State of the County update late last week.

Rogers County Commissioners provided a current picture of all the goings-on in county government during the State of the County presentation Friday.

Commissioners Steve Hendrix and Ron Burrows spoke of housing development, population growth, infrastructure projects and more at the Chamber of Commerce-hosted event.

Population

Hendrix said currently the county’s population is right around 90,000 but is continuing to grow.

“In 1980 we were about 45K so we’ve more than doubled our population in the last few years,” he said. “Rogers County is the sixth largest county in the state of Oklahoma. That’s a great position to be in. It enables us to do a lot of things and have a lot of opportunities that other county’s don’t have.”

Hendrix added, “Something worth mentioning, that goes hand in hand with population growth is that 2020 is going to be a census year...They count our families and see how many people we have? Why is that important?.....It’s important because of apportionment, those House of Representative seats are based on population.”

Hendrix said it is projected that after the 2020 census many southern states could gain seats, and therefore political clout, while some of the midwest and northeastern states may lose seats.

“We need to fight for all the representation we can get,” he said. “Another reason it’s important is money, federal dollars that come back to the states and local communities.”

He encouraged everyone present to fill out the census, and to encourage those around them to do the same.

Transportation

“There are 1200 miles of roads in Rogers County to take care of,” he said. “and about 118 bridges. Those bridges are inspected bi-annually by an outside firm. Right now 46 are rated deficient at this time. It doesn’t mean they’re unsafe, just that they’ll be up next on the project list because they’re needing some attention.”

Hendrix said the total estimated cost of deficient bridge replacement, for the 46 deficient bridges, is $14.1 million.

He said District 1, represented by Commissioner Dan Delozier, laid roughly 13 miles of new asphalt.

“Keep in mind, cost to the county is about $120,000 per mile—and that’s just an overlay of about two-inches...So that adds up quick,” Hendrix said.

Of his own district, District 2, Hendrix said priorities for next year include “a little under 15 miles of road at a cost of $900,00.”

In District 3 Burrows will cover about 23 miles of road with right around a $1 million price tag.

Real estate and future growth

“We have always had one of the highest median home values in the state,” said Commissioner Ron Burrows. “and we continue to do so. We have some really nice developments that put us in that category.”

He said the number of building permits in the county has held steady the past several years.

He cited study results that looked into Rogers County housing needs:

•Housing need over the next five years: 1,104

• Rental Property needed: 295

•Housing units should be a mixture of both market rate and rental units, affordable housing units, and housing for ownership affordable to a range of incomes.

“I think we are on track to exceed those numbers,” Burrow said.

Burrows dissected future subdivision development growth in the county.

The current number of proposed lots, that are in the works, is 413, while a minimum of another 500 are coming down the pike soon.

“Okay, the Highway 20 bypass —Oklahoma Department of Transportation will start construction on the Highway 20 phase one in late summer to early fall of 2020,” Burrows said. “The project will cost $65 million for phase one. But this is happening, it’s in the works.”

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