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Public Hearing Held to Receive Comments About Proposed Regional Airport

Posted: Sunday, November 27th, 2016 at 5:55 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News - Andrew Schneider

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The South Central Iowa Airport Agency held a public hearing to receive comment about a proposed regional airport in northern Mahaska County.

Those in favor and against the project spoke in the George Daily Auditorium at Oskaloosa High School. Among the 14 speakers, there were those who were pro-airport including Pella Mayor Jim Mueller and Oskaloosa Mayor David Krutzfeldt, who both said the combination of the two airports would improve efficiency in the region, and Mueller cited safety concerns with the current runway in Pella. Representatives from Pella Corporation and Musco Lighting also discussed the importance an improved airport has on the local economy, and how air travel benefits organizations like theirs.

Those opposed included a lawyer representing some of the families possibly impacted by eminent domain, who brought up concerns with the environmental assessment, the language included in a 28E agreement between Pella, Oskaloosa, and Mahaska County, and the potential of establishing an aiport in Otley. Mahaska County Residents and Board of Supervisor Mark Doland also expressed their opposition, and Doland emphasized his desire to end the 28E agreement voted on in 2012. Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio was opposed to the project due to the site’s proximity to three regional airports, including the one located in his home city.

The next step is for an environmental assessment to be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the oral and additional written comments. The FAA will decide whether or not the South Central Iowa Airport Agency can move forward with plans to construct a regional airport that replaces the Pella and Oskaloosa city airports.