Vision for airport to let it flyPublished 9:18am Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The Lawrence County Commissioners recently, at least temporarily, put the brakes on plans to bring in a Columbus-based engineering consultant for the Lawrence County Airpark in order to take more time to review the proposal.
Before moving forward with this step, now would be a perfect time for the county to develop a long-term strategic plan for the airport, a facility that seems to cost tax dollars to maintain yet provides little benefits for the region.
Hiring a new consultant may be the way to go but it would be a smart move to outline a clear vision of what the county hopes the airport to eventually be and offer residents.
For years local pilots have lamented its conditions and the poor facilities. Although those have improved somewhat over the years the airport still seems to make little contribution to the county’s economic development opportunities or quality of life.
Maintaining a small private airport like this could certainly be a positive move but the taxpayers need to see how it benefits them.
Part of the motivation seems to be tied to the fact that, if the county does not use the property for an airport, it would revert to private ownership. But that in and of itself certainly isn’t a reason to maintain an airport that brings little to the table.
Hiring a new engineering consultant with experience with airports may be the way to go but it also seems to be only the first step.