Jobs, business booming in Woodward

Saturday, October 4th 2008, 11:28 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

WOODWARD, Okla. -- A weakening economy doesn't seem to be affecting the town of Woodward. A study shows job growth is one of the highest in the state and their population is growing drastically.

"The oil business is going crazy in our neck of the woods. I think the economic boom's great for our town. Property value is going up," Woodward County Sheriff Don Bradley said.

The number of properties in town is also on the rise including new hotels and homes.

"When I started here about eight years ago, the total population was about 17 to 18,000. Now I reckon it's pretty close to 25,000 to 30,000," Sheriff Bradley said.

The boom is bringing in big businesses and more jobs for residents.

"Thousands of new jobs are coming into town with the energy sector work going on here," Woodward city manager Alan Riffel said.

Everywhere you look in Woodward it's easy to see signs of success. In the works are a water park, rodeo, baseball field and a future Tourism and Convention Bureau.

"It's nothing new to a lot of communities, but it is to Woodward," Riffel said.

Sheriff Bradley said although work is in high demand, so is the workload for the police department.

"This is October 3 yesterday and there have already been 771 arrests," Sheriff Bradley said. "Right now, my department is really trying to fight a crime wave."

The crime rate has climbed 35 percent in the last year.

"Property related, domestic violence, you name it, we've been through it recently," Sheriff Bradley said.

The county jail is also more crowded, but the sheriff said they are hoping for a jail double the size of the current one and more deputies to help handle the crime wave.

"Our jails are built in the late 70s early 80s," Sheriff Bradley said. "When it opened, it was meant for about 30 to 40 inmates. Right now, we hold about 50," Sheriff Bradley said.

But they're picking up patrol on a growing population that's proven to be recession proof.

"We're in really close recession everywhere but Oklahoma, so we're lucky," Sheriff Bradley said.