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FAA Invests Nearly $1M on Rarely Used Airport
ARDMORE, OK-- State
officials take a swing at Lake Murray State Park Airport, calling the
air strip an example of wasteful government spending.
"It's an example of the stupidity from Washington," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
The airport landed the number four in Coburn's 2012 Wastebook, but pilots in the area want to keep the airport open.
just another one of our airports that promotes aviation to youth," said
Tyler Barker, a flight instructor based at Ardmore Municipal Airport,
"and it's dying out."
Coburn claims the air strip sees one
landing a month, Barker says he has seen at least one plane touch down
each weekend. Bruce Cypert, Manager of Ardmore Downtown Executive
Airport says he sees several landings on the Lake Murray air strip each
"I hate to see any airport close down," said Cypert.
to Coburn's Wastebook, the FAA gave Lake Murray State Park Airport
$750,000 over the last five years. FAA records show the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission spent $184,000 on safety improvements, which
include rehabilitating the runway, installing airport beacons, and
"No money has been wasted at Lake Murray," said
Victor Bird, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission,
"because basically what we've done with that money is done the bare
When Fox-25 visited the airport, crews saw a
maintained runway, but no beacons or runway lights. Officials from the
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission say although prep work was done, the
lights were never installed. Instead of beacons and runway lights,
officials say the commission used FAA money for other projects at the
airport, which include obstruction removal and installing a wind
tunnel. Bird says the commission has $450,000 set aside from FAA grants
to Lake Murray State Park Airport.
"I don't blame them for doing that," said Coburn, "but the point is, why keep an airport open that's not being used?"
Barker says his flight students use the air strip to practice take offs and landings.
"When they're learning to use shorter runways or a different runway that's somewhere we can go," he said.
at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission say there is no way to keep an
accurate track of landings, because Lake Murray State Park has an
unattended airport. Although there's some activity, tourism officials
who oversee the airport with the Aeronautics Commission say most of the
time, the air strip-- sits empty.
"It's really a bit of an eye sore," said Leslie Blair, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.
officials have tried shutting down the airport four times over the last
six years, but the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission rejected each
"If at all possible, we want to avoid having to give $184,000 back to Uncle Sam," said Bird.
says the state applied for FAA grants to fund Lake Murray State Park
Airport in 2007. Bird says when the FAA invests money into an airport,
the airport must stay open for 20 years. If the commission breaks its
obligation to the FAA, the state would have to pay back all the money
spent on the air strip.
The Lake Murray State Park Airport is
also one of nearly 500 airports under review by the FAA. FAA officials
say once they complete the review of Lake Murray State Park Airport, the
agency could cut off funding if officials decide the airport does not
play a significant role in aviation.
Pilots in the Ardmore area say the investment on Lake Murray is money well spent.
a lot of people out there that fly out just for recreation," said
Cypert, "they play golf, and meet friends, go to the lake and stuff like
Tourism officials want to replace the air strip
with an entrance to the golf course at Lake Murray. With the air strip
gone, tourism officials say Lake Murray State Park would offer visitors
shuttle service from Ardmore Municipal Airport and Ardmore Downtown
Executive Airports-- both airports are less than 20-miles away.
Airport managers say they could easily accommodate all flights that touch down at Lake Murray.
Posted: Tuesday, November 13 2012, 10:24 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Searches to continue day after Moore tornado
May 21, 2013 07:34 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Authorities say searchers, utility crews and people cleaning up are to continue their duties the day after the Moore tornado.
Officials planned a noon news conference at the storm command center to provide updates on conditions. Emergency officials may have a new death toll at the briefing.
Roads that were closed because of tornadoes had reopened by late Monday night, though authorities discouraged travel near Moore because crews in the devastated area still have plenty of work to do.
The National Weather Service pegged the tornado preliminarily as an EF-4 on the enhanced Fujita scale, the second most-powerful category of twister.
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