The $4.58 million project began construction in 2019 and consisted of widening the runway from 60 ft to 75 ft, a new asphalt runway surface, and the installation visual guidance systems and LED runway edge lights. The project, included in the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s Five-Year Airport Construction Program, provides better safety to the users of the airport while continuing to improve the economic impact for the greater Grand Lake Area.
“The runway expansion at South Grand Lake Regional Airport is another sign Oklahoma is open for business,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “Air access to a community can be a deciding factor for many companies seeking a new or additional location. The Aeronautics Commission has directed federal funds and provided grants across the state, including $229K in state dollars for this project, and the airport raised an incredible $229K match, to ensure the needs of commerce and communities are met throughout Oklahoma’s air transportation facilities. Continuing to develop our airport system is critical to becoming a Top Ten state.”
Those who attended the ribbon cutting received a first-class ticket to the unveiling of the future of both the South Grand Lake Regional Airport and the Ketchum community. In addition to the ribbon cutting, attendees enjoyed a flyover performance by several vintage warbird military aircraft and heard from dignitaries including Sen. James Inhofe, Speaker Charles McCall, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, Secretary of Commerce Scott Mueller, Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, Rep. Rusty Cornwell and State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies.
“I have been flying into the South Grand Lake Regional Airport for years and I am thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion alongside the Grand Lake community,” U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe said. “Businesses, governmental agencies and recreational flyers all utilize this airport—from the Grand River Dam Authority, DSA Aviation, K & D Aviation to the Grand Aces Organization. Oklahoma’s thriving aviation and aerospace industries are not done growing yet and I am excited to see this newly refinished runway as part of a larger growth opportunity for new businesses and economic growth in Oklahoma.”
Speaker Charles McCall emphasized, “Air access to a community can be a deciding factor for many companies seeking a new or additional location. The further development of the Oklahoma Airport System is critical to the cities and towns that Oklahomans call home.”
In 2004, nine volunteers formed a public trust to develop 54 acres of grassland into what has now become a 105-acre jet-capable regional airport with almost 20 based aircraft serving the Grand Lake Area.
“With the help of volunteers, grants, and hundreds of supporters making continuous donations, this airport has not only come to fruition, but has been able to prosper for nearly 17 years,” SGLRA Trust Authority Chairman Brent Howard said. “To date, more than $500,000 has been raised from in-kind donations and more than $1 million has come from cash donations and fundraising events, which makes the Authority incredibly grateful for this community.”
With improvements of an expanded fuel ramp, runway lights, and GPS all weather approach, this Craig County airport has reached a new level of 24/7 operation for business and personal aircraft, including coast to coast flights and destination leased aircraft.
“The heart and dedication of the citizenry of Ketchum makes this airport unique,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said. “They have labored, raised funds, and dedicated their personal time and resources for the betterment of aviation in their community and are creating future pilots at their flight school, hosting on-airport businesses, and are the model for public/private partnerships. This is an airport that Oklahomans can really be proud of.”
As a Title 60 Public Trust, SGLRA is supported by nine community-minded volunteer Airport Trustees, the Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, HW Lochner Engineers, The Girl Friends of the Airport, and Members of the SGLRA community.
Senator Micheal Bergstrom
“It is remarkable how this airport has gone from a great idea to a state- of -the-art regional airport in less than two decades. Not only is it a quality transportation hub, but with its existing infrastructure like high-speed broadband services, the South Grand Lake Regional Airport is primed to help current businesses expand and new businesses make a home here in Ketchum, and that will mean more quality jobs for the area.”
Representative Rusty Cornwell
“Due to this facility being right here in my back yard, I have had the privilege to watch the growth of the South Grand Lake Regional Airport through the years, and I’m grateful for all those forward thinking citizens of Ketchum and Craig County, along with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for their hard work and dedication to make this airport a first class facility. The SGLRA is definitely an economic driver for the region and gives us many more opportunities to grow new and existing businesses that will benefit all of Oklahoma.”
State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies
“In the last 20 years you won’t find a community or group of people that are more supportive and dedicated to their airport than right here at SGLRA,” State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies said. “The grassroots efforts to bring this airport to fruition and make it South Grand Lake’s gateway to the world is truly inspiring.”