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Plan to eliminate airport needs grounded

I am writing to express my concern over the Lawrence County Commission’s plan to try and sell the Lawrence County Airport for economic development.

The airport supports at least five full-time jobs in the county. Taxes are paid to the county for maintenance services provided at the airport. Tax money is paid on the sale of aviation fuel. Hangar and tie down rent, when properly collected, covers utility costs for the airport.

Volunteers donate their own time to mow grass and maintain this facility.

The county has offered no plan to let the residents know the future of the airport.

There are numerous vacant storefronts at the K-Mart plaza as well as the plaza by Lowe’s. The efforts to attract new business should be focused on the existing vacancies we have now, instead of trying to remove a vital piece of economic infrastructure already in place.

The traffic created by developing the airport would add to an already congested stretch of highway that operates near capacity each day.

The Point industrial park in South Point is similar in features to the property where the airport is located. The Point has railway access as well, yet arguably has struggled to attract the type of industrial business for which it was planned.

I would be remiss to try and deny the fact that times are tough, and the county needs to explore every revenue option. But, adding more vacant land and traffic congestion with an unclear plan is not the answer.

The airport needs an airport authority with its own powers to take control of the day-to-day operations and free up the valuable resources the county currently uses for it.

J.D. Smoot