Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

April 19, 2013

Dissatisfaction abounds at airport meeting

Pella — An informational meeting regarding the proposed Oskaloosa-Pella regional airport was held at the Community Center last night. The crowd inside the packed Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium would have preferred a different structure for the meeting.

On the meeting's agenda was direction that the crowd would be divided into two groups for questions, following the main presentation. One group, with site-specific questions, was sent to the cafeteria and others, with specific questions for 28E partners the City of Pella, City of Oskaloosa and Mahaska County, were sent to room 204.

Before the main presentation began, requests came from the audience to hold all question and answer sessions inside the auditorium. Those who spoke up said they believed this would be beneficial, for everyone to hear the questions proposed and answers given.

The request was denied. The crowd was told that the South Central Regional Airport Agency (SCRAA) Board had selected the format for the evening. The SCRAA board is comprised of representatives from Pella, Oskaloosa and Mahaska County, and will govern the regional airport when complete. The City of Pella representatives are David Barnes, Steve Van Weelden and Donna Smith.

"There was no feasible way to answer everyone's questions without splitting up the group," Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini told The Chronicle. "We wanted the opportunity to answer as many questions as possible."

He added that no matter what format was used, concerns would have remained. The goal of the meeting was to answer questions and provide as much information about the airport as possible.

When the main presentation was over, room 204 quickly began to fill with people. There were so many trying to get into the room that Police Chief Robert Bokinsky contacted the fire chief to find out the room's maximum occupancy.

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