Lawton Businesses Sees Economic Boost From Immigrant Children At Fort Sill

Friday, June 27th 2014, 6:44 pm
By: News 9

Hundreds of children, who entered the country illegally, remain on base in Lawton. The children have been at Fort Sill for more than a week. The Department of Health and Human Services says there are over 600 children currently staying on base. They're expected to stay for a total of 120 days.

The arrival of the children may have come at a short notice for Lawton city leaders, but the benefits have paid off for local businesses.

With 35 years in the hotel business, manager Larry Byroad says he's ready for anything. Hotel staff has been busy booking reservations.

"We've been sold out the last week and a half," said Byroad.

Fort Still is just a few miles away from Byroad's hotel. His hotel is just one of many hotels in the area provided housing for federally contracted workers hired to care for the children.

"We get told medical," said Byroad. "They work 12 shifts each. It's two to a room."

Barry Albrecht is the President and CEO of Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation estimates, the economic impact is drawing close to $3 million for the town.

Albrecht says he has seen an increase in restaurant activity as well as car rentals. Contracted workers are bused into town and have their own rental car.

Because of the medical teams alternating 12-hour shifts, the hotel staff has also change its hours to accommodate.