OKALHOMA CITY -- Officials with the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department (OTRD) announced Friday that the Lake Texoma Lodge would remain open until a new developer is found or the Oklahoma Commissioners of Land (CLO) directs them to close the facility.
The Texoma Lodge will operate after the Labor Day Weekend, according to Tourism Director Hardy Watkins. Currently OTRD is managing the property for CLO under the terms of an agreement formed after the sale of the property last August. “It is our intention to continue to be good business partners with the CLO and be good neighbors to the people in Southern Oklahoma,” Watkins said.
“It is my desire that the lodge and both golf courses stay open as long as possible,” Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, said. “The new development will be an incredible addition to the area, but until that becomes a reality the current property still serves a vital economic role for Southern Oklahoma.”
Rep. Terry Hyman said he appreciates the Tourism Department’s willingness to work with local businesses and residents in attempting to keep the property operating. “This is a tremendous draw for area tourism and economic development, we need to take whatever steps necessary to ensure it continues to operate until a new owner is found,” the Leon Democrat said.
The four private concessionaires who operate businesses on the property are also anxiously watching the outcome of this sale. Catfish Bay Marina, Texoma Fun Land, Texoma Stables and Texoma Snow Cones employ approximately 50 local people and provides $120,000 of revenue to the state every year. Watkins explained that the lease concessionaires’ agreements with OTRD would not change. “We were very careful to keep our concessionaires informed during the sale process, we will honor every agreement made to them.”
Gumm said state government has not had the resources to update the property for decades. “The hard truth is that the lodge as we know it was going to close at some point - there simply is not a willingness to invest taxpayer dollars into the aging lodge," Gumm related.
"With the redevelopment project, we are trying to make 'lemonade out of lemons'," he said “Selling the property gives us the opportunity to secure the future of Lake Texoma for decades and create a destination point worthy of Southern Oklahoma. To have done nothing would have dealt a serious blow to Texoma's important tourism industry."
Associated Press Coverage:
State officials are expecting plenty of interest in their plan to sell off the Lake Texoma Lodge and Chickasaw Pointe golf course.
A total of 14 inquiries have been made on the land. Two of them
came from within the state and the rest are from elsewhere.
The inquiries were made after a 350 (m) million dollar deal to
buy and develop the land fell through in May.
A proposal with New York developer J. Pierre Gagne to build a
resort complex collapsed in May when Gagne asked for an extension
and did not pay earnest money that was requested by state
Gagne had planned a convention center, new golf courses,
high-end lakefront homes and more.