Alva Review-Courier -

Avard's rail park authority feeling positive about the future


August 16, 2019

Though a small group, a quorum was made Tuesday evening for members of the Avard Regional Rail Park Authority. Stan Bixler, Todd Holder and Ed Sutter began their reularly scheduled monthly meeting without other members Allan Poe and Bob Firth or Woods County Economic Development Committee’s (WCEDC) executive director Sonja Williams.

Wasting no time, the authority delved into the agenda to continue discussion about the infrastructure expansion at the rail park. Without Williams present to give the update, Holder filled in to tell what he knew. He said the federal grant applications are in (something Williams has been working tirelessly on for months), and with a lot of infrastructure movement, he believes more hope is down the road. “Stuff we have in place hasn’t been turned down. We just haven’t heard yay or nay.”

Sutter spoke up with his thoughts on expansion. “I don’t go through Avard very often, but I went through Avard today, and it looks like the inventory – both of Venture and Martin-Marietta – is pretty significant there. I did drive that road and it has a nice base, but it’s disappointing from the standpoint of being very smooth.” He went on the say that instead of putting down the previously discussed 4-inch rock, reducing it to 2-inch rock might be more economical. The 4-inch rock is estimated to cost around $200,000 and putting it in place may cost around the same, he said.

In a brief finance report, Holder said numbers continue to look as good as they can and that the park had a train come in earlier in the month. (The average is one per month in the summer.) Accruals were talked about, with Holder reminding the others that they [accruals] are mostly paid quarterly, meaning a whole new set was getting ready to roll in. Right now, the park’s total liabilities sit at $366,000.

After approval of the financials, Holder told the group that he had received a call that day about – the first in about a month or two – from a potential customer. “It’s way way way too preliminary to bring anything up, but hey, it was a call ... it’s good. It’s promising.” He said that he will be sending the potential customer some information.

Authority members moved on and, before wrapping up the meeting, briefly talked about the Sundance wind farm project east of Waynoka. It’s funded and ready, Bixler said, though he’s not sure where the lines will be. Sutter mentioned that many of his clients are bringing up abstracts to make sure everything is up to date.

“That’s positive,” Holder said. “Those are dollars for Woods County.”


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