People weigh in on Lawton’s lakes, amenities

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - People who spend time at Lake Lawtonka and Lake Ellsworth are asking the City of Lawton for improvements and more recreational opportunities.

Equestrian trails, Air BnB’s and more bathrooms: these are just a few of the things lake-goers want to see at Lake Lawtonka and Lake Ellsworth in the future.

They voiced their opinions at the City of Lawton’s Lakes Master Plan Public Input Meeting Monday night.

Mark Erricson has been visiting the lakes for 30 years.

He said he’d like to see something unique at the lakes, like log cabins.

“Amenities for the golf carts,” Erricson said. “Trails that would take them around the lake, showcase the lake a little bit better. Camping areas for tourism. I truly believe if you’re going to have a tourist attraction, you have to have attractions for the tourists.”

Erricson said the Wichita Mountains are the perfect backdrop for the lakes, but there needs to be more to do.

“The night skies are just something you don’t see everywhere and to be able make that a marketable place, we’ve got to have facilities in order to do that makes it inviting for people to come,” Erricson said.

One woman said before anything new is added, she’d like to see the city upgrade what’s already there. Many applauded in agreement with her.

Nate Claire from Halff Associates out of Oklahoma City is working on the plan with the city.

“It’s clear that people are very passionate about these lakes, but we’re hearing things about the existing camping and amenities out there and what changes we’re going to promote,” Claire said.

Claire said the next step is to hold stakeholder meetings.

Some people in the crowd weren’t happy that those meeting wouldn’t be open to the public.

Claire told them there would be more public input meetings in the future.

“These are great amenities, kind of gems for the community,” Claire said. “Ultimately, these are the drinking source for Lawton, but to be able to use them for recreational amenities is a bonus.”

Claire expects the future stakeholder and public meetings to begin early next year.