Alva Review-Courier -

Avard Rail Park Authority discusses obtaining an expansion rendering


A proposal from an engineering firm to provide a true rendering of an expansion project of the Avard Regional Rail Park was given to the park's authority Tuesday evening. Graham Engineering submitted a proposal at the behest of Woods County Economic Development Committee (WCEDC) Executive Director Sonja Williams to provide their services for a fee of $4,120. During last month's meeting, Williams told the board that the rendering was necessary in order for her to apply for transportation grants – some of which have deadlines quickly approaching. The board (Todd Holder, Allan Poe and Stan Bixler were present) accepted the proposal in order to get the executive director what she needed.

Members voted next to renew insurance with the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) and moved on to go over the finance report. Holder said there was one train that came in since last month and that there was nothing of significance in the finances. “We're solid. Our debt is continuing to go down.”

WCEDC Report

In her report, Williams spoke about a couple of upcoming meetings she would be attending. The first is a public-private partnership meeting at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) and the second a first annual Governors Economic Development Workforce Summit.

She then started a discussion on the upcoming 2020 census and explained its vital role in communities being able to secure funding.


lnvenergy, a privately held wind energy company, had their Senior Manager of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Vicki Ayres-Portman and Associate of Renewable Development Demi Gastouniotis give an overview of the energy company and its projects around the state. The women attended the WECDC meeting that afternoon and came to the rail park meeting to not only meet authority members, but to show a broad overview of maps they deemed ever-changing, making it clear that the mapping was not set in stone.

“Is there a possibility that some of your supplies could be railed in as opposed to trucking it in (…)?” Holder asked. “My understanding is that we've definitely investigated bringing turbines in by rail,” Gastouniotis said. She went on to explain how it would be the contractor's responsibility to decide how the equipment will get to where it is going and that typically rail sites aren't available.

“It stands to reason that if you guys leased a yard in the rail park, that contractor would be more likely to use the rail park,” Poe voiced. The rep said the company will work closely with contractors to see how they have determined how to deliver the turbines and find the best location.

Ayres-Portman said when asked about establishing a local headquarters that she has talked with Alva's economic development director Alex Mantz about spaces available in town and that plans to look at them were made.


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