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Route 66 News

Fort Reno loses state funding, cuts hours deeply

Fort Reno graves

Oklahoma state government’s dire financial situation apparently forced it to halt funding for Fort Reno near El Reno, Oklahoma, just off old Route 66.

According to a report by KOCO in Oklahoma City, the historic fort — which dates to the 1870s — that once was open daily but Christmas and Thanksgiving now is greeting tourists only three days a week.

Theleda Fuller is a volunteer there:

“Missing the people that come down Route 66, it makes me sad to think that they came all the way up here and it’s closed,” Fuller said. […]

The board at Fort Reno learned in December that it is losing its state funding. Since then, the board has had to let go of their director, cut back on spending and postpone annual events.

“It’s just sad to lose that history,” Fuller said. “It has so much history. […]

Now, the fort has to stay open by donations, making sure those aging buildings continue to stand.

Here’s the original video report from KOCO:

Fort Reno was used for a variety of purposes during its existence, including protecting white settlers from Native American attacks, controlling Sooner and Boomer activity during the Land Rush, as a POW camp for captured German and Italian soldiers during World War II and as U.S. Department of Agriculture research center. A number of historic sites still remain on the complex, including a cemetery containing the graves of U.S. cavalrymen and World War II POWs.

Staggering deficits have rocked Oklahoma’s state government in the last few years. They were caused by ill-timed tax cuts, more tax breaks to the oil and gas industry and a collapse of tax revenue from those same industries.

The state has looked at closing at least half of its state parks and cutting deeply into its state tourism budget, although both things aren’t certain at this time.

(Graves of two World War II soldiers at Fort Reno near El Reno, Oklahoma, by H.L.I.T. via Flickr)

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9 thoughts on “Fort Reno loses state funding, cuts hours deeply

  1. R.H.

    Oh, so sad. We really enjoyed our visit there in 2014. It was so well maintained and full of priceless history. So many good things fall to government shortfalls now.

  2. Krissy

    These tax cuts were from previous years and in the article it fails to mention the wind industry tax cuts affected this tremendously, not just oil and gas.
    Reuters:But the Reuters analysis shows tax credits and exemptions for the wind industry totaled $306 million from 2004 to 2015,

  3. Krissy

    The negative impact of this year’s budget cuts and the resulting closure of seven state parks have been mitigated in part, because the public and private entities that owned five of the parks have chosen to step up and operate them locally. Remedy for the two parks owned by the State was found when the City of Heavener and the Chickasaw Nation offered to assume those operations. All seven parks will remain open to the public for recreation.

  4. Lane Stripe

    And this will keep happening until we stop stealing from the working class to force-feed the wealthy. Get corporations off welfare.

  5. Krissy

    Again: OKLAHOMA CITY) – Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) announced seven state parks would be closed because of budget cuts. Since then, agreements have been reached with local entities and tribal governments to operate each of the parks.
    Stop blaming and counting on government to ” take care” of everything.

  6. Krissy

    Tax cuts for business’s encourages growth of companies which in turn means more employment and more people paying taxes. This is not a hard concept to understand.

    1. James

      Not so, that is the false trickle down myth, the rich get richer. Oil and Gas Execs are the thieves of Okla. and ten politicians are their puppets. Raise the taxes and fees to match Texas.

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