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Oklahoma town hoping to take over state park in danger of closing

HINTON, Okla. -- The town of Hinton is trying to save Red Rock Canyon State Park from closing.

Terrell Coffey has lived in Hinton all his life. He told News 4 he can't imagine the town without Red Rock Canyon State Park.

"It`s great for our community. Brings a lot of people in and out of town, and it`s great for the state of Oklahoma because it promotes our state," Coffey said.

The Red Rock Canyon State Park was added to a list of parks that could be closed to save operating costs, however, it is not actually facing closure at this time.

That news was heartbreaking to not only locals, but people from other states that enjoy visiting the park.

"To me, it`s kind of hard to get into a lot of parks. So, I don`t understand why they`re closing them," Glenda Kelley, visiting the park from Texas, said.

"The city of Hinton reached out about the operations at Red Rock Canyon State Park and expressed an interest in being the ones to operate the park," said Leslie Blair with the state tourism department.

They're currently in negotiations with the town.

Blair said in FY 2017, it cost just under $300,000 to operate the park and it only brought in about $140,000 which is why it may close.

Now, the hope is that Hinton can keep the community staple alive.

"A lot of people come down and spend a week, maybe two weeks, in the park. Kind of sight seeing in the area and they spend a lot of money here in our community while they're here," Coffey said.

Officials with the town of Hinton told News 4 that private citizens are the ones who brought the proposal to the tourism department and they would partner with the city to operate it.