Facts must overcome plans, ideas

Published 9:18 am Friday, June 21, 2013

When it comes to plotting a course for the future, facts must always drive decisions and predetermined plans of action can lead to dangerous pitfalls.

If the county is not careful that may be the case with the push to convert the Lawrence County Airpark in Chesapeake into a commercial or retail development.

The Tribune has long supported the county commissioners’ efforts to consider every option for economic development of this property and others.

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As this situation has continued it seems that commission president Bill Pratt remains too focused on what he had hoped to do instead of acknowledging the reality of the situation.

The recent response from the FAA seemed fairly clear when it comes to these plans, essentially saying that not only would the county be liable for the nearly $1 million it received in grant funding, but also that no proceeds from the sale of the airport could ever go back to the county.

Couple that with the fact that it would be almost impossible to develop a new airport in the county if this one closed — leaving Lawrence as the only one of 88 counties in Ohio without at least a shared airport — and the reality is this project should likely be grounded.

It was an idea worth pursuing but, based on the current information, it simply does not look to be possible.

And that’s OK.

Now it’s time to move on to other things. If the commissioners and Pratt want to lead the way on economic development, why not get involved with promoting the former Kmart site?

Since most of the infrastructure is already in place it would likely be cheaper to develop anyway and the center has a better location on U.S. 52.

Nothing is wrong with considering all options, but our leaders must make sure they don’t make up their minds in advance because that often leads to poor decisions.