An outside consultant may be the answer to a snag the Ardmore Industrial Airpark keeps hitting.
Tuesday, the mayor and board of commissioners approved an agreement with H.W. Lochner. Inc, an aviation engineering company that’s worked on the Ardmore Downtown Executive Airport and the airpark in the past. A Lochner employee will serve as a consultant that will help the city present studies and applications that require in-depth technical answers to the FAA.
“We feel like with him helping us, advocating for us, it’s going to help us so we can actually build the treatment facility at the airpark instead of a long pipeline,” City Manager JD Spohn said. “It’s looking very good now, we’ve got the possibility of putting it out there and getting it behind us.”
The consultant will work on-call to help the city navigate Federal Aviation Administration regulations when planning updates or construction. The city has agreed to pay for up to $10,000 for the consultant’s services.
“We’re versed in utilities and dealing with regulatory agencies,” Assistant City Manager Kevin Boatwright said. “The FAA is a little bit of a different beast than we’re used to dealing with. He’ll help massage that and help us through any hurdles we’re not aware of.”
The city has been working to replace the airpark’s old water treatment plant for the last five years, but kept running into FAA regulations that halted the process. The city eventually considered building a pipeline to connect the airpark’s plumbing to the main line, but that solution would have been costly, inefficient and impractical in the longterm.
“We need to build a better, more efficient one to plan for future growth out there,” Boatwright said. “We went back to FAA because of the expense, the complexity and the maintenance of what we were trying to do.”