OKLAHOMA CITY - For the past 50 years, the Space Tower has been greeting visitors to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. The tower was built in 1968, but officials say it will be gone by the end of the year.
After years of rust and damage from storms, officials say it would simply cost too much to keep.
“It's sad because it's been there forever,” a resident told News 4.
In April of 2017, a severe storm hit Oklahoma City, causing damage to the Space Tower and knocking down the nearby arch.
In the aftermath of the storm, President of the State Fairgrounds, Tim O'Toole, says they hired an engineer to review all of the damage at the fairgrounds. Officials learned that the Space Tower was suffering from a lot of rust and damaged parts.
“The recommendations were for some rather extensive repairs and renovations to just the tower tube itself, so we went out and got some estimates on that,” said O’Toole.
In all, he says it would cost the fairgrounds about $1.2 million to complete those repairs.
O'Toole says tearing it down and using that money for future development was the best option.
“It is the end of an era, although the ride has not been operable for 10 years due to the flood damage that occurred in 2010,” said O’Toole. “We want to make sure the space is welcoming and inclusive and is something that the public will enjoy as they're here for whatever activity they're on the grounds for.”
Many say when it's gone, the fairgrounds won't be the same.
“I think it's a loss of a great landmark that really distinguished the fairgrounds,” said a resident.
“It will be sad to see it go,” said a resident.
As of right now, O'Toole says they don't have any official plans for the space where the Space Tower stands. That's something they'll be discussing this winter.