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Columbia City Council approves airport improvement plan

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:22 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 20, 2009

COLUMBIA — A planning document that outlines possible improvement projects at Columbia Regional Airport received the City Council's stamp of approval Monday night, but at least one stakeholder wasn't happy about it.

The Airport Master Plan outlines $64 million in projects over the next 20 years and emphasizes the immediate need to repair and expand both runways.

Runway expansion — as outlined by the plan — would require the city to buy land on the north side of the airport.

Judy Gibson spoke to the council as a part-owner of more than 200 acres of land that she says has been in her family for 99 years. She said the expansion of the runways would require the purchase of more than 40 acres of her family's property.

Gibson said that she first heard about the plan to acquire part of her family's property at a public information meeting last fall.

"(Public Works Director John) Glascock told me that they had been working on the master plan for a year and a half before the meeting," she said. " ... But our family had not had any notice from the city that that was happening."

Airport Manager Kathy Frerking was on hand Monday night in support of the master plan. Asked about Gibson's comments, Frerking said she understood that land acquisition always affects someone personally. But, she added, that it had been discussed publicly well before the current planning process began.

"This piece of land has been a part of two master plans," she said.

The previous master plan study for Columbia Regional Airport was adopted in 2003.

The plan adopted Monday calls for the reconstruction of the crosswind runway, which is used mostly by general aviation aircraft. The plan also proposes the repair and expansion of the main runway in order to accommodate larger aircraft.

In addition to runway improvements, the plan proposes the eventual expansion of parking lots, the construction of a new emergency services building, hangar expansion and improvements to terminal facilities. The runway improvements, however, are listed as the top priority.

The plan estimates runway projects will cost roughly $40 million and take place over the next three to five years.

Most of the $64 million in proposed projects — including runway improvements — would be funded primarily through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

City Council members voted unanimously to adopt the final draft of the master plan.


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Comments

Allan Sharrock October 20, 2009 | 8:56 a.m.

"But, she added, that it had been discussed publicly well before the current planning process began."

Just because it was discussed doesn't mean the propery owner follows what is happening at city council. Of course the city council nor the airport mgr really cares about the property owners.

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