Woodward, Okla. —
AVARD-A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Friday to celebrate the official opening of the Avard Regional Rail Park.
The new 508 acre rail park has space available for variety of businesses who depend on rail service, offering access to 2 rail lines operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad.
"The BNSF Transcon goes through Avard as it runs from Chicago to California. And from the east there is a BNSF branch line that runs from the Port of Catoosa and Tulsa area and connects to the southeastern united states. Both lines join at Avard," said Sandie Olson, with the Waynoka Industrial Authority, which has been a supporter of the rail park venture.
Olson said that a lot of work has been put in over several years to create the rail park.
"First of all there was the purchasing of the 500-plus acres of land immediately east of Avard where the 2 rail lines join," she said.
In addition, she said, "the railroad has installed switches and infrastructure in getting the site ready."
Installing the infrastructure alone has been "a monumental undertaking," Olson said, noting that one of the biggest pieces was building a side rail so that "they're able now to bring in a train as long as a mile onto the siding."
This means that companies who locate at the rail park will have direct access to trains of all sizes on which to ship their goods to other parts of the country.
whether it's to the midwest, to the west coast or the southeast.
Olson said the goal is for the rail park to become an industrial hub, providing jobs for area residents.
"It's a great opportunity to provide employment for Woods County and the adjacent areas," she said.
In addition to recognizing the rail park as open for new businesses to locate there, Olson said Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony is intended as a thank you for those who helped make the rail park a reality.
"As all ribbon cuttings are, it is to recognize the people who were closely involved with the project and its construction," she said. "So much work has been done by so many from government entities to local banks and share trusts. This is a way to say thank you to a lot of people that participated in the project."
According to a press release, the event will begin at noon with a hot dog lunch prepared by the Rowdy Rangers! At 1 p.m., Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Edward Sutter, chair of the Avard Regional Rail Park Authority, will make some comments.
The press release states that "Immediately following, Chairman Sutter and the vast group of parties which made this venture a reality will perform the official ribbon cutting."
Attendees will then have the opportunity to tour the first phase of the new venue.
For those interested in attending the event, the Avard Regional Rail Park Authority press release provided the following directions on how to locate the facility:
• Take Highway 281 south from Alva or north from Hopeton,
• Turn west on E0210/Garvin Co. Road (an unpaved roadway) - look for an "Avard" sign,
• Drive approximately 6.8 miles and the site location of the park will be on the left (south).
Or, in case of inclement weather, the press release states the ribbon cutting celebration will be held at the Woods County Courthouse, located at 407 Government St. in Alva.
For more information, contact Sandie Olson at (580) 824-5871.