Originally commissioned as an Army Air Corps base in 1942 during World War II, Ardmore Municipal Airport was transferred to the town of Ardmore on condition that it remained an active airfield. The Town of Ardmore, recognizing the importance of economic development and the value of the Airpark assets, leased the land in 1983 to the Ardmore Development Authority (ADA).
Since then, the ADA, in partnership with the State of Oklahoma, has taken a disciplined approach to making improvements to the park. It has extended the airport’s main runway to 9,000 feet to accommodate jumbo jets and continues to make improvements through partnerships with organizations such as the FAA and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. These efforts have attracted renowned national and regional tenants, including the largest Dollar General distribution facility in its network; Dollar General Fresh, a new concept of fresh products; and EJ Foundry, a total electrical installation. King Aerospace Commercial Corp. is the first aerospace tenant of the aeropark for decades and continues to develop maintenance, repair and overhaul activities. Recent improvements to electricity, telecommunications, water, sewers and natural gas position the park for immediate development. With new infrastructure, multimodal transportation capabilities, proximity to major markets without the congestion of metropolitan areas, as well as access to Interstate 35, the aeropark is poised for success.
Today, the ADA has partnered with a public-private partnership with WP Global, an alliance between Watco, Knightsbridge Partners and the Chickasaw Nation, to bring the vision for an ecommerce hub in Ardmore to life. The Global Transportation & Industrial Park of Oklahoma (GTIP) is a $ 124 million multi-phased development plan that will create an international, multimodal logistics park with rail and air freight capabilities. GTIP will host transshipment, storage, distribution and manufacturing solutions for a wide range of industrial projects. It will boost employment, economic development and business opportunities in the heart of Oklahoma. Not to mention that it is an approved foreign trade zone in the United States, which allows it to accommodate world trade. The opportunities are vast; it could be a game-changer for world commerce in Oklahoma.
The ADA dreamed big and took calculated risks to run the aeropark where we are today. In collaboration with the Town of Ardmore, it continues to invest in the facility and its assets. We look forward to announcing the GTIP and seeing how it benefits the whole state.
Mita Bates is President and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority, the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, the Ardmore Tourism Authority and the Chamber of Commerce Foundation Inc.