By Conrad Dudderar
The opening of a new interchange was among highlights of 2021 in Yukon.
A ribbon cutting was Aug. 27 for the Frisco Road interchange at Interstate 40-mile marker 135, which opened ahead of schedule. The $14 million project was substantially completed in September.
Sherwood Construction was the contractor for the year-long construction project, a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and City of Yukon.
This new interchange – which Yukon city officials expect will spur economic development on the city’s west side along Frisco Road – wasn’t the only “big thing” to open in Yukon this year.
At the last Yukon City Council meeting of 2021, Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar presented a laundry list of City of Yukon projects and “new” additions over the past 12 months.
Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda was impressed by the year-end report.
“Yukon has had a very successful year in spite of all the challenges that we’ve had,” Yanda said. “We all should be pleased that we live in a great community.”
In 2021, new businesses opening in Yukon included Atwood’s Ranch & Home, Hynson’s Classic Burgers, Fuzzy’s Tacos, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Rounders Pizza, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Coffee Jerks, and Whatchamacallit Tools.
Construction is underway on a new Country Equipment dealership on W Vandament just east of the new Frisco/I-40 interchange.
Yukon capital projects completed in 2021 included 11th Street roadway and drainage improvements, State Highway 4 phase one, Garth Brooks Boulevard traffic flow improvements, and Westport and Bass Bridge drainage upgrades.
In the last year, the fire department ordered a new $629,058.22 Pierce rescue pumper that’s due to arrive in mid-2022.
A new fire command vehicle and parks maintenance mowers also were purchased.
Recently, the City of Yukon took delivery of a new $320,000 Van-Con sewer flushing truck. New sanitation trucks have been ordered as well.
CITY FACILITY, PARK UPGRADES
Among facility improvements finished in 2021 were remodeling and other updates to the 48-year-old Yukon Community Center and the Jackie Cooper Gym.
Also completed were a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) bunker at the Yukon Police Department, new information technology building and technology improvements at the Centennial Building.
Meanwhile, Pafford Emergency Medical Services (EMS) moved this year into the former fire station two building next the police department. This will improve its ambulance response times, Kretchmar said.
A new “inclusive” $174,945 playground at Ranchwood Park and baseball field improvements also were completed in 2021.
Yukon’s Christmas in the Park – an epic 40-day holiday lights festival – was recognized statewide with the Redbud Award from the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and the Innovation Award from the Oklahoma Municipal League.
Record attendance was reported this year at other annual special events like Festival of the Child, Fish-Out and Halloween programs.
YPD LIFE SAVERS
Three Yukon police officers were recognized this spring with the Yukon Police Department’s “Life Saving Award.”
Capt. Zach Roberson, Sgt. Carl Tucker and officer Jacob Streeter were credited with saving the life of an opioid overdose patient by administering two series of Narcan.
Not to be outdone, the Yukon Fire Department received a glowing citation-free “surprise” inspection from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
SALES TAX AND ARPA
City of Yukon’s sales tax collections increased 5.03% for the 2021 fiscal year ending in June compared to the previous year. And it’s up 7.17% year-to-date for the period from July to December.
Meanwhile, the City of Yukon received half of its $4.9 million federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation to replace aging water and sewer infrastructure. The city has applied for more stimulus funds through Canadian County and the State of Oklahoma for those projects.
“I appreciate all that you and the rest of the city employees have done,” Mayor Shelli Selby told Kretchmar. “A lot has happened this year.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2022
Among key projects planned for the new year are Wagner Road improvements between SH-4 and Yukon Parkway, Freedom Trail Playground upgrades including a new spray park, 10th Street and Garth Brooks Boulevard improvements, and street striping.
For 2022, Yukon city officials will continue building improvements, preventative maintenance of city facilities and infrastructure upgrades.
Results from the Yukon Community Survey and three town hall forums will be presented at the Jan. 4th city council meeting.
The council will use the citizen feedback to determine which capital projects to include on a proposed June 2022 election ballot, funded either through a sales tax increase or bond issue.