EDA awards $1.25 million grant for water infrastructure upgrades at airpark

Drew Butler
Unites States Deputy Undersecretary for International Trade Joe Semsar (right) visited the Ardmore Industrial Airpark on Thursday to announce a $1.25 million grant has been awarded to the Ardmore Development Authority. From left to right: Ardmore Mayor Doug Pfau, ADA President and CEO Mita Bates, Director of Business Development at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Jennifer Springer, Chair of the ADA Board of Trustees Nancy Sjulin, and Joe Semsar.
Deputy Undersecretary for International Trade Joe Semsar (second from right) joins numerous local officials at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark on Thursday.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce visited Ardmore Industrial Airpark on Thursday to announce that the Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.25 million grant to the Ardmore Development Authority. The grant will be used to make improvements to the airpark’s water infrastructure and will go hand in hand with the approximately $2 million set aside by the City of Ardmore for a new wastewater treatment facility and sewer upgrades.

Before making the official announcement, Joe Semsar, deputy undersecretary for international trade, performing the nonexclusive functions and duties of the undersecretary for international trade, spoke briefly about the mission of the International Trade Association.

“Our mission is to create prosperity for American companies, and we do this in three ways,” Semsar said. “By strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industries, by promoting trade and inward investment, and by ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements.”

Semsar has recently been traveling to various communities across the country in honor of manufacturing month, and he said he was extremely excited to be visiting Ardmore on behalf of the EDA.

“As many of you know, the EDA is committed to supporting impactful, locally driven strategies that desire to spur private investment and create jobs,” Semsar said. “So it is my pleasure to announce that the EDA is awarding a $1.25 million grant to the Ardmore Development Authority to make the water infrastructure upgrades needed to support future business growth right here at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark.”

He pointed out the airpark is a foreign trade zone, and it sits near one of Oklahoma’s 117 economic opportunity zones.

“We look forward to all the wonderful things this project will do to help further foster an economic environment here locally conducive to growth,” Semsar said. “On behalf of President Trump and the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, we wish you the best of luck with the project. We’re so proud of this particular grant, and we’re equally proud of our partnership here locally and across the state.”

Mita Bates, ADA president and CEO, said this grant is another step towards bringing more industry and manufacturing to the airpark.

“One of the key components to achieving our goal is having the right infrastructure,” Bates said. “We’ve got a World War II vintage property, so having the money we need to make upgrades to the infrastructure is huge. This grant money and the work the city will be doing on the sewer and water treatment plant will position us very nicely as we continue our marketing efforts to secure the companies and entities that meet the mission of the airpark.”

She said the grant will allow for some of the existing water lines to be rehabilitated or replaced as well as extend water service to new areas at the airpark.

“We will be extending water service along the south side of the airpark, and that will get water all the way to the west edge of the runway,” Bates said. “This area has previously had limited water capacity, and once the new infrastructure is in place it will open up the entire area to new development.”

Bates said now that the grant funds are in place, the ADA will soon begin engaging engineers to develop the plans for the new water infrastructure.