Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

CNHI/SE Iowa

April 22, 2013

Airport meeting draws capacity crowd in Pella

PELLA — There was a full house at the Pella Community Center Thursday evening as the South Central Regional Airport Agency held an informational meeting.

The proposed joint Oskaloosa-Pella regional airport is a sensitive issue for many, especially landowners and farmers in the Leighton area.

The meeting was held to inform the public about the process and proposed site locations for a Category C airport. A PowerPoint presentation was given in the community center auditorium, and then Oskaloosa and Pella officials were on hand afterwards to answer questions, and representatives of Snyder & Associates were in another room to talk about site locations.

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock Jr. began the PowerPoint presentation by explaining the 28E agreement that formed the SCRAA.

“The 28E agreement is often the focal point of the discussion,” he said.

Schrock said Oskaloosa and Pella began to work jointly on transportation issues in 2010. In July 2012, Oskaloosa, Pella and Mahaska County approved 28E agreements to form the SCRAA.

“Each entity held a public hearing on the matter,” Schrock said.

Under the 28 E agreement, the financial obligations for one-time expenses is divided 50 percent for Oskaloosa and 50 percent for Pella. For operating expenses, the division is 60 percent Pella and 40 percent Oskaloosa. Mahaska County residents have no financial responsibility, Schrock said.

Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini explained the characteristics of a Category C airport, which the proposed regional airport will be.

A Category C airport has a 5,500-foot runway with room to expand up to 7,000 feet. The airport would have the ability to provide precision approach landings, which the current Pella airport is incapable of doing. A Category C aircraft using the facility has a 79 foot wingspan and a passenger capacity of six to 12 people, Nardini said.

Nardini said there are Federal Aviation Administration grants available to fund up to 90 percent of eligible costs. The local match is between 10 and 20 percent, he said.

The current Pella airport is a Category B II airport that does not meet the safety standards of Category C aircraft. It is a “constrained site” that is land-locked by roadways and is not feasible to upgrade, Nardini said.

The city officials argued that the regional airport would strengthen regional economic development.

“We want to be relevant to the state of Iowa,” Schrock said. Also, federal funds for Highway 63 improvements would be tied into regional airport development, he added.

Nardini said the regional airport is one of seven regional facilities listed on the FAA’s May 2012 report. Federal officials determined that the regional airport would be the 10th busiest facility in the state of Iowa, he added.

Site selection for the airport is currently underway. Schrock said site selection would conclude in June. Snyder & Associates staff identified nine sites and recommended three sites for the SCRAA board to approve. Then the FAA conducted an airspace review of the locations. Once approved, a primary and secondary site would be selected. The primary site would be sent to the FAA for an 18- to 24-month review.

“That’s when the board would talk to landowners about price,” Schrock said. The SCRAA board would follow federal procedures, and land condemnation/eminent domain would be “a last resort,” he said.

Where are the three proposed regional airport sites?

Jerry Searle of Snyder & Associates said that Site A is located near Highway 163 between Independence and Highland avenues. Site B is located south of Highway 163 and east of Eaton Avenue. Site C is located south of Highway 163 and is between Eaton and Cordova avenues.

Many in the audience had questions about the regional airport for the city officials and they crowded into Meeting Room 204 to ask them. The room was so filled with people, that at one point, Pella Fire Department officials limited the crowd to only 50 people in the room at one time. Thus, many people lined the hallway to wait their turn to speak.

Many people in the room had something to say about the regional airport.

Rob Hammann lives at 1526 Highway 163.

“Site B runs right next to our house,” he said.

Hammann said his concerns about the regional airport include whether it is needed.

The meeting “confirmed that it’s not needed,” he said. He also felt disappointed that there is “no representative for our side” in the process.

Hammann said he was discouraged with the meeting.

“It’s disappointing how they handled it,” he said. “They dodged questions that need to be addressed.”

“This meeting is a joke,” said Tom Jepsen, of Oskaloosa.

“I’m very discouraged and disgusted about this meeting held tonight,” said Jimmy Carter, of Oskaloosa. “People leave mad and confused. It didn’t accomplish anything.”

Mahaska County Supervisor Mike Vander Molen said that people want to hear if they get a vote on the airport.

Currently, there’s no structure in Iowa law for them to have a vote, and that frustrates people, Vander Molen said.

“People want to express their concerns and frustrations,” he said.

Vander Molen said the regional airport is a popular topic when constituents discuss county issues with him. He said he’s heard both pro and con opinions about the regional airport.

“Everybody wants to hear the rationale for the airport and how to pay for it,” he said. “The county is not on the hook for the capital fund or expenses.”

1
Text Only
CNHI/SE Iowa
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taking a look at Iowa's rural bridges and roads

    OSKALOOSA — National statistics indicate that Iowa roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair.According to the Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland report, 22 percent of Iowa’s rural bridges are deficient.Maha

    July 25, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Honey Creek Resort recognized for recycling MORAVIA — Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake has been selected as having the best government recycling program by the Iowa Recycling Association.“Iowa’s Greenest Resort” received the award July 17 during the Iowa Recycling Association annu

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Features
AP Video
Maine Police Investigate Deaths of Family of 5 UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Obama Asks Central American Leaders for Help Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Obama Advisor Skips House Hearing
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results