McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

March 20, 2014

Alva: Making improvements

ALVA, Okla. — Nearby oil and gas production is one source for funding improvements in the city of Alva, officials said.

Mayor Arden Chaffee said there has been an increase in revenue for the city, and a number of improvements are under way.

The city-owned swimming pool is being renovated.

City Manager Joe Don Dunham said the pool renovation is expected to be completed by the swimming season, set to begin on Memorial Day weekend.

Chaffee said the city is preparing to build a new indoor trash transfer station.

“And, we hope to develop a recycling center there as well,” he said.

The city also has taken some action toward improving streets and water delivery.

Chaffee said the city instituted a new $5-per-meter street maintenance fee to make street improvements.

“We’ve bought some new equipment to do that, and we’re looking at hiring part-time help this summer,” Chaffee said.

Water rates have been increased 10 percent to cover the actual cost of delivering water from the well field 21 miles away, he said.

“We found it was costing us about $70,000 more to bring it up here than we were making on it. We want to run the city in a business-like manner,” Chaffee said.

The city also is preparing for storm season, he said.

Power outages can be an issue for the city because if there is no power to the well field, there is no water, he said.

“We’re taking some action to install generators and upgrade our wiring down there to prevent that,” he said. “We want to be proactive if we can.”

Alva residents also have seen the opening of two new hotels, and an extended-stay hotel is expected to open soon.

Chaffee said housing is growing with the construction of a new subdivision, as well as a number of other new homes and duplexes.

“We have many, many people that are remodeling and renovating abandoned properties. And, this summer we’re going to get ambitious about derelict property abatement,” he said.

In the past few years, the runway at the local airport was expanded to accommodate jets, and work to put in a grass landing strip is under way, according to city officials.

Chaffee said the city is waiting for BNSF Railway to double track the last link in the transcontinental railroad that comes through Alva. Another project, the Avard Regional Rail Park, which is the intersection of two BNSF lines and is located 14 miles southwest of Alva, is growing daily. Both Woods County and Alva have contributed to the Avard Regional Rail Park, Chaffee said.

The rail park provides access for freight to Chicago, San Francisco and the Port of Catoosa.

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