For Immediate Release: May 2, 2012
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
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,"
SB 1913 will go into effect July 1, 2012.