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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2012

Sen. Frank Simpson
Sen. Frank Simpson

Governor approves funding for new Lake Murray State Park lodge

Construction of a new lodge in Lake Murray State Park will soon be underway following the Governor’s approval of Senate Bill 1913 Tuesday. The legislation by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, authorizes the Department of Tourism to use $15 million from the State Park Trust Fund for the construction and maintenance of the new facility.

“Building this new lodge is going to have a tremendous economic impact on Ardmore, Carter County and the state by attracting even more tourists to this beautiful part of Oklahoma,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “I want to think my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Fallin for their support of this important tourism bill and helping ensure that this project will be able to get underway this year. I personally can’t wait to stay at the new lodge. It’s going to be beautiful, and I know so many others are just as excited for it to be finished as me.”

Gov. Fallin praised legislators for their quick action on the important tourism legislation.

"Lake Murray is a crown jewel of the Oklahoma park system. The addition of a new lodge will further enhance the recreational facilities and help attract more visitors to a beautiful part of our state,” said Fallin. “This is an exciting development for Ardmore and south central Oklahoma. I want to thank Senator Simpson and Representatives Ownbey and Hardin for their dedication and leadership in this effort.”

Now that the bill has been signed, Department of Tourism officials can begin the process of finding an architect and engineer. Construction will begin next year and the lodge is expected to be completed by September 2015.

Lake Murray currently attracts over 13,000 vacationers a year who contribute $1.4 million to the local economy. Local officials expect those numbers to increase after the new lodge is constructed.

Ownbey noted that the self-sufficient project will be of great benefit to local communities and the state’s tourism efforts.

“Funding for the new lodge will come from revenue sources derived from the park’s own resources,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “So revenue from Lake Murray will go to pay for a new lodge that will further increase money coming into Oklahoma and our local communities from out-of-state vacationers such as those coming from North Texas. Thousands of vacationers visit this great attraction and more will come with the new lodge. It’s a great step forward for the state and won’t cost a single taxpayer-funded dollar.”

Oklahoma operates 41 state park properties and owns another 14 state parks. Royalty payments from the parks owned by the state are used for capital improvements at all of the parks. With nearly 12,500 acres, Lake Murray State Park is larger than all the other state-owned parks combined. The park has brought in over $15 million worth of royalty payments. SB 1913 will allow that money to be used for the construction of the lodge as well as any maintenance costs through June 30, 2020.

Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, also coauthored the bill.

"The new lodge will help boost the economies of nearby towns such as Marietta and contribute tax revenue through tourism dollars from Texans and other local tourists who visit the lake," said Hardin.

SB 1913 will go into effect July 1, 2012.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607

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