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City leader positive about Mustang's future

Assistant City Manager Justin Battles thinks Mustang’s rapid growth will continue.
By Steve Gust, For The Oklahoman Modified: July 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm •  Published: July 29, 2014

Justin Battles, Mustang assistant city manager, is among a growing number of young professionals who have decided to live in this Canadian County town.

Fewer people are bigger Mustang advocates than Battles.

“Mustang has the big-town amenities with a small-town feel,” he said of the city of about 17,000 residents.

“You can get to a Thunder game in 30 minutes.”

Still, there are reminders that Mustang might be losing some of that small-town feel.

The roads get a bit more clogged these days, and more construction is seen, such as work on St. Anthony’s new 90,000-square-foot medical facility at State Highway 152 and Sara Road.

City sales tax revenues, thanks to more people and more businesses, have climbed steadily in the past five years. People from Tuttle and Yukon often shop in Mustang.

“Last year, we had 103 permits for new homes, and we’re expecting to double that this year,” Battles said.

Leadership ladder

At 34, Battles has seen Mustang grow, and he’s been a leader for some of that.

Originally from Ozark, Ark., he attended the University of Arkansas. His wife, Danae, is a native of Mustang.

He’s now worked in municipal government for 12 years, while raising three children.

In 2002, Mustang hired him as field coordinator with the parks department. The next year, he was promoted to sports coordinator.

Two years later, he was assistant parks department director, and he became director in 2006. In February 2013, the city council launched a search for a new city manager. Needing an interim leader, they tabbed Battles for the job. He ran the town including its 76 full-time and 75 part-time employees until August, when Timothy Rooney was lured away from a similar post in Wrangell, Alaska.

“Justin may be a bit modest, but he did a terrific job,” Rooney said.

He noted Battles’ value to his own success. On July 1, Battles was named assistant city manager.

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