City leaders are able to breathe a sigh of relief after it was learned the Federal Aviation Administration has taken the Ardmore Airpark control tower off the chopping block.
The control tower is one of 16 that will remain open as participants in the “cost share” program. David Grizzle, FAA Chief Operating Officer, said in an email the towers would remain open because Congressional statute sets aside funds e ver y fiscal year for the towers. He also said the funds are subject to sequestration but the required 5 percent FAA cut in funds will not result in tower closures in the program.
“I am cautiously optimistic,” Chris Bryant, Airpark Manager, said. “I’m happy for the fact that, according to the FAA, we are not on the chopping block. We will continue to support the other four airports that are not as fortunate as us.” Enid Woodring Regional Airport was among 24 towers that were taken off the list because of the negative impact it would have nationally if the control tower were closed. The 24 towers were taken off the list following FAA consultations with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security. Operational assessments of each potential closure on the national air transportation system were also conducted.
The Oklahoma control towers remaining on the list for closure are:
■ Lawton Fort Sill Regional
■ University of Oklahoma Westheimer
■ Wiley Post in Oklahoma City
■ Stillwater Regional All four towers are scheduled for closure April 7.
“I think this is the best news we have heard in a while,” J.D. Spohn, Ardmore City Manager, said. "There has been a significant investment made in the airpark. I think it is extremely beneficial to the community and our efforts to expand business opportunities at the airpark. I appreciate the hard work of everyone who sent emails and phone calls on behalf of the airpark."