Choctaw Nation Donates Funds for Airport Terminal

Choctaw McAlester Airport GB
L-R: David Andren; Choctaw Tribal Councilman Robert Karr; Stephanie Mervine; Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Executive Director Grayson Ardies; Chase Tindle; McAlester Mayor John Browne; Kirk Evans; and Robert Cooley.

MCALESTER, OK – The Choctaw Nation Development Fund donated $250,000 to construct a $2.7 million state-of-the-art airport terminal for the City of McAlester that will enhance the overall travel experience for residents and visitors. The funds will be instrumental in the partnerships with the other state, federal, and local funding agencies that have worked collaboratively to make this project possible. The City of McAlester, Choctaw Nation and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission celebrated the collaborative effort earlier this month with a groundbreaking ceremony.  

“This is such a great opportunity for Choctaw Nation to work with the City of McAlester,” said District 11 Councilman Robert Karr. “One of our slogans is ‘Together we’re more,’ and this is a great example of that. By investing in the new airport terminal, Choctaw Nation is empowering the region to seize economic advantages. Economic development is what this city needs and what southeastern Oklahoma needs, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”  

McAlester Mayor John Browne thanked Choctaw Nation for its generosity, noting that there will be images of Choctaw culture inside the terminal that speak to the city’s identity within the Choctaw Nation.  

“We have incredible community partners who helped us get to this point in Choctaw Nation, Chief Gary Batton and Councilman Karr,” said Browne. “With the work Choctaw Nation is doing in Daisy, this is the closest place that has restaurants and hotels available to them. This will be a boon for that business.” 

Choctaw Nation has garnered national attention for its drone research, and the Department of Advanced Technology Initiatives (ATI) is based just 30 minutes from McAlester. The department’s five-year plan includes completing the Emerging Aviation Technology Center, creating aviation corridors within Choctaw Nation and establishing advanced technology companies in the region. The collective efforts will further spur economic development in the region, bringing in new businesses and jobs. The airport will play a critical role in the region’s ability to grow and develop in the way ATI envisions it.  

“Aviation aerospace is what we hope to be our state’s No. 1 industry in the next 10 years,” said Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Executive Director Grayson Ardies. “At McAlester, what you’re doing today in breaking ground is securing your legacy in the aviation aerospace industry for the next half century.”