Vote likely means lights out for Lake Murray airport in Ardmore

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to move forward with closing the facility.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: March 16, 2013
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— The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission on Thursday voted to close Lake Murray State Park Airport.

In July, commissioners debated whether to shutter the facility, ultimately deciding to let it be, citing a contractual obligation to the federal government to keep it open until 2027.

Thursday, the commission voted 6-0 to close the facility, which is adjacent to Lake Murray Lodge and Lake Murray Golf Course.

Victor Bird, director of the aeronautics commission, said enough was enough. “Although the action may eventually have monetary costs, it was the right thing to do,” Bird said.

Last summer, the Federal Aviation Administration appeared it might close Lake Murray airport as it completed a study of the nation's general aviation airports.

The FAA asked the commission to delay action and reminded the commissioners that because they had accepted grants on the airport's behalf, they were contractually obligated to keep it open through 2027 or repay the grants.

Since 2007, grants from Lake Murray airport have been transferred to Ardmore, Muskogee, Duncan and other locations with greater aviation demands.

To close Lake Murray airport, the commission needs the cooperation of the state Tourism Department, which is a joint sponsor of the site.

In July, a department spokeswoman said they want the airport shuttered so they can use the runway area to develop a new entrance to the golf course.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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