By Jennifer Seaton
November 2, 2021

A vision for Arcadia Lake

Adventurous experts, A.K.A. The Dream Team, share their strategic vision for Arcadia Lake, including economic development.
Woman kayaking on Arcadia lake

Arcadia Lake is an Edmond gem along historic Route 66 and even benefits businesses in Edmond and our local economy. Did you know that the City of Edmond contracted with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to construct Arcadia Lake in 1987?

The goal of Arcadia Lake is to help Edmond in three main ways:

  • Flood Control
  • Water Source
  • Recreation

Arcadia Lake contains 26 miles of shoreline and 14,530 acres of water and has the capacity to provide 11 million gallons of water per day. Guests enjoy 650 acres of parkland including picnic areas, pavilions, three overnight campgrounds with swimming beaches and three boat docks.

In 2020, Arcadia Lake saw record numbers. Vehicle counts jumped from 194,354 to 369,464. Annual pass purchases, rentals, UCO Boathouse visits, and campsite reservations doubled. Instead of flying to distant locations for vacations, people bought boats, campers, and RVs. Arcadia Lake was getting lots of attention from new travelers. Edmond residents and visitors made memories and voiced concerns. Many amenities had not been improved over the years. Some parts of the lake still look like they did in 1987.

Based on increased use during COVID, City of Edmond employee leaders organized an internal brainstorm about Arcadia Lake’s purpose, strengths, opportunities, and needed improvements. Based on staff feedback, the city council voted to hire a professional facilitator to develop a vision and strategic plan. The Mettise Group was selected from a bidding process based on their experience with Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and other community development initiatives.

On February 26, 2021, a task force of 15 “experts” took the first step on a journey to develop a strategic vision for Arcadia Lake. These Edmond residents and business owners were selected because they consistently use the lake in various capacities including biking, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, equestrian, camping, lodging, and fishing.

Nicknamed “The Dream Team,” they gathered for a comprehensive tour. From the University of Central Oklahoma Boathouse on Arcadia Lake, they caravanned to Central State Park, Carl Reherman Park, Scissortail Park, and Spring Creek Park, stopping at each place for an overview and discussion about facilities, future plans, and possible improvements. No dream was too small and no idea was too big for this group.

The Arcadia Lake Task Force AKA The Dream Team:

  • Arcadia Lake Commission/Boating: Alex Allen
  • Parks & Recreation/Birding: Vicki Jackson
  • UCO Boathouse: Katrina Shaklee
  • Edmond City Council/New Services: Josh Moore
  • Trails/Hiking, Biking, Running, Walking: Kurt Sampley
  • Fishing: Kade Copeland
  • Commercial Real Estate: Chris Palmer
  • Business Leader: Caleb McCaleb
  • Lodging: Harshil Patel
  • Wildlife Dept: Damon Springer
  • Equestrian: Terri Folks and Gill Barnett
  • Hunting: Richard “Mike” Johnson
  • RV Camping: Justin Wishon and Tina Lovato

“The Arcadia Lake task force opened my eyes a great deal to all of the opportunities the lake provides. It was exciting to consult with people having very different reasons for being passionate about the lake, but all coming together and creating one cohesive strategy for its future,” said Katrina Shaklee, UCO Boathouse on Arcadia Lake.

The Dream Team was surveyed before meeting and ranked their top three goals as increased tourism, recreation expansion, and economic development. They met on April 8 and May 7 and led a city council Workshop on July 12.

Part of the visioning process that made it successful is they came together for the greater good of Arcadia Lake. It wasn’t only about fishing or hunting or camping. The goal was to make the lake the best place for new residents, visitors, and new businesses. As “experts,” they took ideas back to their respective groups of friends, families, and fellow hobbyists for constructive feedback.

“The collaboration between user groups was fantastic and gave us all a forum to hear and respect each other’s opinion. Sometimes our equestrian group is left out of the loop and we were thrilled to be included in this important task force,” said Terri Folks, Co-chair, Equestrian Friends of Arcadia Lake.

Arcadia Lake is an economic driver for tourism but can also bring new businesses like a waterfront restaurant, boat slips, cottages, and a retreat lodge. These ideas came to fruition as part of the New Services Group led by Josh Moore, a homebuilder and city council member.

We all felt like we were listened to in the process, and now, the City of Edmond is starting to make things happen that the Strategic Overview recommended,” said Caleb McCaleb with McCaleb Homes.

A strategic overview was developed that set a path for the next step for a master plan. Bidding out the master plan is in process now for planning in 2022.

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About Jennifer Seaton

Jennifer Seaton has been the Director of Visit Edmond (also known as Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau) since July 29, 2019. She is a City of Edmond employee and long-time Edmond resident. Jennifer brings extensive marketing and advertising experience from her 25 years working in the Oklahoma City metro. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Business Development for STAPLEGUN, an advertising agency based in Oklahoma City. She previously worked as the Director of Marketing for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Vice President of Marketing for United Way of Central Oklahoma. She attended Ohio University where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication. Jennifer's goal is to elevate the “Edmond experience” to attract more leisure travelers, tournaments, and business conferences to Edmond.