Muskogee Phoenix & Times Democrat by Liz McMahan
Ask Eufaula Mayor Joe Johnson anything about city government, local industry or the areas economy
and and he has an answer. But ask him a question like what he does for fun and he’s stumped. For
Johnson work is fun.
“Work is kind of my hobby,” he finally says adding that he owns a few pieces of rental property which
fill his time when he isn’t wearing the mayor's hat.
“I don’t fish or golf or anything like that. I'll have plenty of time to do those things later, they don’t pay
Johnson has seen a lot of changes in Eufaula since becoming mayor nearly 13 years ago and thinks the
town of about 3,500 pop. is on the verge of a very prosperous future.
That future, Johnson believes, will largely center around a tourism industry which is still in its infancy
and probably will not be ready to blossom if it weren't for a marina developed by Meeco Marina Inc. as
a showplace for its operations; and the decision by Three Buoys Houseboat Vacations Inc. to place 75
of its luxury houseboats here.
Now during the tourism season Eufaula is a beehive of activity as people from Dallas/Fort Worth
area and from throughout eastern Oklahoma flock to the community for a taste of the easy life Lake
Eufaula. The city of Eufaula is supporting the development of an amusement park in the cove just south
of the marina and have purchased two used water slides and will erect them, then turn them over to the
They also have invested heavily in getting Eufaula designated as a Main Street city and have put the
director of that project on the city payroll. They are also putting money into the renovation of the
downtown area by footing part of the bill for new sidewalks.
And the city recently produced a 16 page, two section newspaper with four-color process
pictures touting the town's assets. Those will be distributed to tourists and potential tourists as the city
sells itself here and at various travel and trade shows. Johnson admits a lot of what the city is doing
could be done through a chamber of commerce. “But in a town this size, the chamber has a very
limited budget. Where we depend so much on tourism, the city feels like it is a part of our function to
promote tourism and handle some of the responsibility that a chamber would normally have.”
Johnson says he is ready for Eufaula to grow.