Without question the gem of economic development in Ardmore is the Ardmore Industrial Airpark. Over the years it has developed into a hub of industrial and aviation activity for Southern Oklahoma. Dollar General’s distribution footprint continues to grow at the Airpark with the new DG Fresh facility opening at the end of April. EJ has created a niche market for themselves in the manhole cover arena. King Aerospace works on large private jets with customers literally flying in from across the globe. And if you are hungry, Jake’s Joint will fill you up while watching planes takeoff and land on the runway.
The Airpark was first opened in 1942, the height of World War II, and was known as the Ardmore Army Airfield. Decommissioned after the close of the war in 1946, the base was recommissioned during the Korean War and renamed the Ardmore Air Force Base. The base’s final decommissioning was in 1962 when it was deeded to the City of Ardmore with one major stipulation- it had to remain an active airfield. The City then entered a long-term lease with the Ardmore Industrial Development Authority, the predecessor to today’s ADA, for the development of the park.
Over the last five years, the ADA team has worked on making the Airpark look like the gem that it is for this community. The old building foundations throughout the park have been removed. The drainage channel that runs from the north to the south end of the park, has been paved and is no longer overgrown with cattails and critters that like to hide in them. The control tower has been fully modernized and is expecting more updates in the coming months. The main taxiway has been extended to the full length of the runway allowing for easier access.
Even the Airpark’s infrastructure is being upgraded. Being a World War II-era airbase means that the water and sewer lines throughout the park were also World War II-era. In the fall of 2020, the City of Ardmore replaced all of the sewer lines throughout the park. Also, in the fall, the ADA was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration that will be used in the coming months to replace and modernize all the water lines.
The future of Ardmore and the Ardmore Industrial Airpark is bright and only getting brighter. If you have not been out there and looked around lately, you should take a drive out and look around. You’ll be glad you did!