Mustang has come a long way since the days of a dusty four-way stop at the corner of Mustang Road and state Highway 152.
A relatively small community completely surrounded by our much larger capitol city, city officials could be content with sitting back and letting those resources satisfy the entertainment needs of its residents. After all, Mustang has become so much more than its 12 square miles. With the school district enrollment topping 10,000 last year and subdivisions cropping up in what is technically part of Oklahoma City, many people who actually are not “residents” of the city consider it their home. It’s not just because we’re part of the same zip code or have kids who attend Mustang schools – it’s the atmosphere, the essence of what Mustang really is.
A big part of that is the city’s transformation. Look around at how busy things are – the stores, the roads, the restaurants. We’re growing and beginning to attract businesses we just recently saw settle north of us along the Interstate 40 corridor. While cities like Yukon and Oklahoma City still have that asset, Mustang has an equally important one – its people.
That is nowhere more apparent than in the city’s iconic Town Center. Once a sleepy locale mostly used by civic and business groups for meetings, everything at Town Center has not only grown, it’s improved by leaps and bounds. From the newly expanded and refurbished library, to senior center and parks and recreation facilities, Mustang has changed even in the last seven years.
Three women have been instrumental in that change, individuals who work behind the scenes and who have made Mustang’s transformation come alive. While there are many who have contributed to the city’s success – most notably Justin Battles, assistant city manager/parks and recreation director – these three women deserve a nod of thanks and a huge pat on the back for working tirelessly to bring the city to life.
Mustang Library has come a long way from a storefront with a few books. Now a premiere library in the state, director Desiree Webber has guided her staff and along the way developed fun, unique programs that have excited and educated residents young and old. Ask Desiree and she gives all of the credit to her staff. There’s no doubt Mustang Library’s staff is an asset to the city; but, as in any organization, a staff is a reflection of its leader.
Look at the library calendar this summer and every day there’s something new. Whether it’s the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre stopping by, an unusual art class or simply ways to keep reading exciting for children and youth, the library’s bustling activity does all of us proud.
“Activity” is a good word for Mustang’s Senior Center, which has also grown into “the” place for seniors to be. In a world where seniors sometimes seem to get left behind, Ashley Wisner has expanded the center’s world, and in the process has shined a light on the area’s lively senior community. With a huge variety of special activities held at the center itself, throw in trips for dining, shopping and shows, gets seniors out and keeps them active. They are not just watching the world go by; they are part of it, and Ashley, whose official title is adult program coordinator, is a big reason for that. She may have that long title, but to area seniors, she’s a friend and an advocate – and that’s all they need to know.
Bringing the world to Mustang is one of Jean Heasley’s greatest strengths. Mustang’s assistant director of Parks and Recreation Department, Jean is everywhere at once – organizing Spooktacular, getting sponsors for Mustang’s Eggstravaganza, working with residents and staff alike at Mustang Aquatic Center. Jean is a whirl of activity, making it look easy to keep 53 balls in the air at one time. She has brought fun and memories that will last a lifetime to generations of area residents. Jean was recently named Mustang city employee of the year, and there’s a good reason why.
Desiree, Ashley and Jean – and their staffs – are big reasons why Mustang has grown and become the kind of city we all want to be a part of, a place to forge memories and someplace we’re proud to call home.