Announcement made at celebration of Kaw Dam

Ponca City Now - May 23, 2016 9:05 am

Architect Rick Stuber shows the Kaw Lake Visitors Information and Education Center concept drawings to, from left, Skyler Matthews, Nancy Rathbun, Johnnny Shaw, Peat Robinson and Rita Sells.


A major announcement was made by the Kaw Lake Association and the Kaw Lake Educational Foundation at the 50th anniversary celebration of the groundbreaking of Kaw Lake held Saturday at the Kaw Lake Overlook.

It also was the 40th anniversary of the completion of Kaw Lake.

Presiding at the celebration were Natascha Holloway, KLA president and Wayne Ray Mitchell, former president and Overlook Project Chairman.

Mitchell announced that El Conquistador Solutions, a local Native American, veteran-owned and operated environmental consulting company owned by Skyler Mathews, has been selected to conduct the environmental assessment for the Kaw Lake Overlook area, site of the proposed Kaw Lake Education and Visitor’s Information Center.

ECS will be assisted by Cox McClain Environmental Consulting, represented by Haley Rush and Heather Goodson.

ECS will donate a portion of their services for the assessment.

In the fall of 2014, the Kaw Lake Association and Kaw Lake Educational Foundation announced a vision to build the center, to tell the history of the lake and area tribes and to serve as a Visitor Information and Education Center.

Initial conceptual drawings were designed by architect Rick Stuber.

The environmental assessment is the second step in the process to obtain a lease from the Corps of Engineers on the property.

“We anticipate it will take about a year to complete the assessment and lease application with the Corps of Engineers,” said Wayne Ray Mitchell, chairman of the Overlook Project. Upon obtaining the lease, fund-raising for the architectural design and construction will begin.

State Rep. Steve Vaughan talked about the importance of tourism to Oklahoma, the state’s third-largest industry.

“It creates jobs for 95,000 Oklahomans and has an $8.9 billion direct travel expenditures impact, according to research findings,” he said. He recounted how when he and his wife chose to move to the area from Missouri the lake was a definite attraction and they built their home overlooking Kaw Lake.

Ponca City Commissioner Nancy Rathbun read a proclamation from Mayor Homer Nicholson proclaiming May 21 at Kaw Lake Day. She cited the size of Kaw Lake and the various activities the attraction provides.

Kaw Project Manager for the Corps of Engineers Peat Robinson talked about the Corps’ role. He said the lake was built for flood control; however, recreation has taken an increasingly important role in the past 40 years.

Foundation vice president Brook Lindsay addressed the role of the foundation, the 501c3 partner of the Kaw Lake Association. This group assisted in the raising of funds for the environmental assessment and will be the vehicle for people to donate to the Overlook Project.

In addition the KLEF funds the Make A Splash Program providing swim lessons for second graders from four Ponca City area schools and works with the Corps to promote water safety through a radio campaign in the summer.

Also in attendance were Laurence Beliel with Ponca City Development Authority, Danielle Vap with Ponca City Chamber of Commerce, Vic Andrews, first president of the Kaw Lake Association, and board members of the Kaw Lake Association including Rita Sells, Deonne Gates, Johnny Shaw and Mike Bundy.

“As we proceed with this project, we would love to have people write their stories about the lake and send them to us,” Holloway said. “We’re also interested in artifacts related to the lake.”

Individuals who would like to become involved with the Kaw Lake Association or assist with the Overlook Project should call 580-762-9494 or e-mail [email protected] .


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