Thursday, July 25, 2013

Golf course to add driving range: Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport (KLAW), Lawton, Oklahoma

Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport's governing board is looking at a new source of income, even as it deals with a reduction in a traditional source of revenue.

This week, members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority approved a request from the new golf course operator to add a driving range to the facility, a proposal that will bring the airport $350 more a month in revenue. However, airport officials want more details on the proposal and some control over the appearance of the office/shop that will serve the driving range.

Local businessman Joe English assumed control of the Municipal Golf Course earlier this year and Airport Manager Barbara McNally said the business has thrived, noting the parking lot "is packed on good days." English, at the request of his customers, wants to expand services by providing a driving range, in the same area that a driving range ran under the previous operator.

English asked for a 2-year lease, with two 2-year options, and would pay $350 a month for the property adjacent to King Road and South 11th Street (the airport had offered a rent of $300 a month if English would mow the entire area, but English indicated he would maintain only the area he is leasing).

Authority members liked the idea of a driving range, but said they wanted input into the office/shop. A structure that already exists in the area is being used as a maintenance building by the airport staff and English plans to put a portable building on the site, McNally said.

The trailer is expected to be only large enough to contain the supplies that customers might need, but McNally said that because that trailer will be placed along the airport's primary access point, there are concerns about the building's appearance. Airport Authority Chairman Bob Milner said the contract with English will specify the appearance of the portable building must be acceptable to the airport authority, while other board members wanted specific details about the building. As a compromise, the board approved the driving range lease, but specified English must work with authority committees on the appearance and must comply with city building codes that might govern placement of a portable building.