LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Lawton Economic Development Corporation approved a purchase Monday that will hopefully bring the old Fairmont Creamery back to life.
LEDC wants to use for what they are calling the “Fires Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator”, or FISTA.
This has been in the work for the past 18 months, and now the goal is for it help bring in, and to house high paying technology jobs.
After several efforts over the last few decades to find a new use for the creamery, including an entertainment district, LEDC’s purchase of the facility has now set it on a new course.
“As an accelerator, it’s an opportunity for existing businesses that do work with the defense industry, army in particular, to be able to locate here and do that work," said James Taylor, the Great Plains Small Business Coordinator.
“This will provide a number of new jobs, high paying jobs, high paying tech jobs that we have been searching for,” said Brad Cooksey, the LEDC President.
The reason behind this is because of Ft. Sill’s two cross functional teams, who can work side by side with the technology created, and developed in their backyard.
“Army Future’s Command is looking to see what local communities are willing to step forward where the CFT’s are located,” said Taylor.
While this won’t be a Ft. Sill run facility, Taylor said having them work together on these products is what makes this idea so exciting.
“Soldiers on Ft. Sill, within those CFT’s would be using the technology. They can test it, evaluate it, try to break it, repair it, and do it better,” said Taylor.
Cooksey said the reason they chose the creamery is because in a time where Lawton is hoping to turn over a new leaf, why not pick a historic building that could use the same.
“Iconic building here in Lawton, to renovate that will say something about our downtown. It’s in the middle of our business district, it has accessibility to I-44 and Ft. Sill,” said Cooksey.
And over the next 12-18 months, Taylor said LEDC hopes to completely redo and renovate the massive facility.
“The opportunity for labs, for work spaces, different types of chambers, and other spaces where you can bring in technologies to test and evaluate," said Taylor.
As far as funding, Cooksey didn’t say how much the project will cost, but they are hoping the city helps with money from the recently passed CIP.
The final funding decision will be made by city councilors at an upcoming meeting.