As public relations director for the city of Bethany – which abuts Oklahoma City’s northwest side – Nikki Lloyd had ideas about how several things could be improved throughout the city … but no authority to carry them out. So she did something drastic two years ago: resigned from her salaried position with the city, ran for the unpaid position of mayor – and won.

In the process, she became the first female mayor of the city of just over 20,000. And at 39, Lloyd, who now owns a small business, believes (pending historical research) she could possibly be Bethany’s youngest mayor ever.

Shortly after taking office, the new mayor spearheaded a $14 million capital improvements campaign to pay for a list of enhancements for the city. The bond package won approval from the voters and will finance a comprehensive package of street, drainage, parks and public safety projects throughout the city. 

“I like to think that’s proof the citizens are behind what we’re doing,” she says, adding that she hopes residents are patient while the city gradually sells the bonds that will finance each project. Meanwhile, Bethany is in line to receive about $17 million in grants, with applications submitted for another $50 million. 

The city is now home to a mix of retail/antique stores and unique restaurants, with one business park open and another under construction.

Lloyd says she doubts that many people are aware of Bethany’s diverse “foodscape” that includes Honduran, Nicaraguan, Thai, Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, Guatemalan, Mexican and Asian, in addition to standard American fare.

“If you call yourself a foodie but you haven’t been to Bethany to eat, well…,” she says by way of invitation. “We have had so many new and diverse businesses come to Bethany in the last few years. It’s been exciting to see.”

Before Lloyd took office, Bethany’s voters approved an $8.1 million bond for construction of a 23,000-square-foot library/media center, which opened in 2019. Operated under an agreement with the Metropolitan Library System that serves entities throughout OKC, the Bethany Library welcomes patrons from Bethany and several surrounding communities.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Bethany was settled just before Oklahoma statehood by pioneers interested in pursuing their religious convictions without outside interference. At one time, it was considered mostly a bedroom community for Oklahoma City with strong ties to the Christian Nazarene faith, with the name Bethany taken from the biblical community of Bethany that adjoined Jerusalem in the Holy Land.

Bethany has two faith-based, private universities. Southern Nazarene University, which now occupies 200 acres just off Route 66, offers more than 50 majors, 17 NCAA Division II athletic programs, and competitive internships and job placement. 

Southwestern Christian University offers a liberal arts education from a biblical, Pentecostal Christian worldview. It has 30 undergraduate degree programs, and draws students from 20 nations.

Bethany is also home to the Bethany Children’s Health Center, described as an innovative leader in pediatric rehabilitation with 24-hour, complex care. The hospital, private and nonprofit, is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) and offers inpatient and outpatient services for children.

The hospital was started in 1898 as an orphanage that moved to Bethany. According to its website, it has grown to become the only inpatient pediatric rehabilitation facility in Oklahoma.

For More Information:

Photos courtesy Wiley Post Airport

City of Bethany

Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber

Southern Nazarene University

Southwestern Christian University

Wiley Post Airport

Bethany Children’s Health Center

36 Square Event Centers

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