U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Tom Cole were on hand this week for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new center which will serve as a site for collaboration between the private sector and defense industry at Fort Sill.
The ceremony was for the opening of the Fires Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator (FISTA) Innovation Park.
“The completion of the FISTA Innovation Park will not only provide for innovation, training and job growth outside the gates of the Ft. Sill installations, it will significantly enhance the warfighter mission inside the boundaries so our nation can confront the foreign challenges of the future,” said Congressman Cole.
He said the opportunities for economic growth and beyond will certainly help the Lawton-Ft. Still community for decades to come.
“For more than four years, community servant leaders have been forming and nurturing what is now known as the FISTA,” said Oklahoma (South) Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army Michael B. Brown.
“It will drive and accelerate innovation well into the foreseeable future not only for our warfighters but into commercial applications as well, and we are just getting started. Well done Lawton Fort Sill – so proud of you! “
Cole requested $3.95 million in Community Project Funding for the center originally for fiscal year 2022 appropriations, and secured an additional $2,202,626 million for campus modernization and expansion of the project for fiscal year 2023 appropriations.
According to the FISTA Trust Development Authority, benefits to the community as a result of this project are expected to include:
- 150 – 225 direct $100,000+ per year jobs created in first 24 months
- 275 ancillary (service/retail/other) jobs
- Redevelopment of a 200-350,000 square feet of vacant commercial retail for active economic use in a distressed Opportunity Zone
- Increased investment in community STEM education and workforce development
- Support for other adjacent community redevelopment efforts of downtown commercial district
- A projected $50 million annual regional economic impact
Source: Cole press release