Airport Closure Imminent

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Greg Bockelman, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. CBeaulieu

    CBeaulieu Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Petition signed.
     
  2. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you Diana!
     
  3. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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  4. bigring

    bigring Filing Flight Plan

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    Signed.
     
  5. smccray

    smccray Pre-Flight

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    Is AOPA offering any assistance on this? It's short timeline, but they should be able to help here.
     
  6. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Has anyone checked to see if the FAA has provided funding to the airport improvements in recent history? If they have, then the City can still close it... But they need to pay those improvement funds back..
     
  7. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi guys, the airport doesn't meet some of the criteria to be eligible for federal funding, so no, that's not an option. It is eligible for state grant monies issued through MoDOT and our CM was *supposedly* in discussion with MoDOT about grant funds for a runway overlay.

    As such, AOPA hasn't shown much interest. I think the lack of federal funding and the fact that this airport has had a prior closure threat has left them lukewarm. I'm the AOPA ASN Volunteer for 3EX. I've been in regular contact with them, at their request, but that's honestly been about it - me providing updates.

    The whole situation is just beyond bizarre. CA and council won't talk, and never have. What was a lease situation with someone (us) offering to remodel the facilities and bring businesses onto the field in hopes of creating not only a fun, grassroots-type field but also a great fly-in destination has turned into this whole mess. Many will say it was never about the lease, the lease and renewed interest in the field spurred the CA to push for closure because oh crap, they want to do something with it now...

    ..but that's just me spitballing. I feel like I'm living a movie plot and I am missing about half of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  8. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    AOPA help....

    Giant shrimp, military intelligence, and all the rest of the oxymorons. Asking AOPA for anything that doesn't include paying them something is a lost cause.
     
  9. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    I am the AOPA ASN for Jackson Hole..... and....

    To get something done, all you need to do is hold a wine tasting at the airport and invite AOPA to display their wine club and its benefits...:D
     
  10. Florida Cracker

    Florida Cracker Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Is your city attorney's name, Rich Daley? He sure acts like him...

    oh... signed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  11. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    haha, to all of you! I figured we're just too much of small potatoes for AOPA. Country bumpkins with our grassroots field..

    Anyways, just finished a radio interview for the AM news station in Kansas City. Sounds like some media will be at our Council meetings Friday and Monday...
     
  12. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Congrats.. it is always a good thing to have media around...:yes: It keeps the "other" side honest...:D
     
  13. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    I'd be very frustrated if AOPA didn't offer help/advice on this.
     
  14. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Sarah,
    Try contacting the Recreational Aviation Foundation: http://theraf.org/
    Signed & commented.

     
  15. Skylane81E

    Skylane81E Final Approach

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    AOPA got involved here, they endorsed the plan that ended in the closure, so best of luck!
     
  16. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    oops I realized I made a typo in my post about federal funding - it said state funding in the sentence where I meant "federal" - went back and fixed it.

    Dave, I knew about the RAF through Supercub.org, but I figured they mostly were centered around backcountry strips. If they'd have an interest in this, I'll definitely contact them.

    Sarah
     
  17. TheTraveler

    TheTraveler Line Up and Wait

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    I thought the same when I saw the thread.

    Fortunately this one could still get saved. Unfortunately Meigs wasn't.
     
  18. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    I keep waiting for the guy to show up with a bulldozer in the middle of the night...
     
  19. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    If it's recreational for aviation, I'd check with them and see.
     
  20. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Dave, worth a try!

    Sarah
     
  21. JasonCT

    JasonCT Pattern Altitude

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    Great to hear Sarah! Thanks for working so hard for GA and your community!
    Welcome to POA!
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  22. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Sarah,

    One possible correction.

    Missouri is a block gant state (I think that's the proper term) and the FAA gives MoDot a lump sum of money each year for the smaller airports and MoDot distributes it based on need.

    So, yes, you probably are receiving FAA money, albeit indirectly. Also, check with your MoDot contact because I'd bet they have similar obligations tied to their money. Let me know if you need names and numbers.

    Petition Signed.
     
  23. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sarah: Be persistent in your Open Records Requests, and keep strong records of those (it sounds like you are).

    Don't forget, you can get information from both directions - send an Open Records Request to the state's agency which administers such grants and funding. While it is very common for city and (sometimes) county officials to grasp at power and try hard to cover it up, it is much less likely that a state agency will participate in such shenanigans.

    If they say that they have tried for state funds but been unable to secure them, and it turns out that either (1) they never tried, or (2) their efforts were inadequate and inept, well then, you've got some significant ammunition for your truth-gun.
     
  24. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the info, Tim! Yes, they are block grants, you are right. According to the MoDOT website, they award around $16M annually in federally-funded block grants, and another $10M in state-funded grants. We will try to clear that up with MoDOT.

    In a funny turn of events, the city has invited the MoDOT inspector that did our airport's inspection report last summer up for either the work session tomorrow or the Council meeting on Monday - we've been unable to confirm which. We had been pushing for that from the start. We spoke with her at length when our lease was in consideration, before this mess blew up, last fall. She was very positive and encouraging about the airport. And she did talk about grant eligibility. They said they could have her up last fall and that's the last we heard of it, yet the councilman that is so anti-airport and the City Attorney kept citing the MoDOT inspection as being the reason for closure (guys, there is NOTHING bad on that report - I've darn near got it memorized right now - it's in fact more favorable than the one that was issued 3 years prior!). I could go on and on about this MoDOT "controversy" that the attorney and that councilman created out of nothing, but it's a GIANT red herring.

    The City Manager was supposedly in communication with MoDOT about grant funds for a runway overlay and kept saying talks were encouraging. But he talks out of both sides of his mouth, obviously, otherwise why was the city planning on a vote to either close or keep the airport open? We just don't understand how we went from someone wanting to renovate the field to a closure vote. Well, we do, and he's the City Attorney, but...

    Also, the City has suddenly this week taken care of some minor discrepancies that were listed on the report. One of our airport board guys said the city was at the airport early this week taking care of the gravel and sand piles that were too close to the runway (Parks and Rec put them there...) and pushing down a fence that was listed as an obstruction.

    We think we've made them feel the pressure.

    We are not going soft, though, because as soon as we hear this stuff and think they are having a change of heart, the CA will come in with some zinger. The paper's requests for information we are pretty sure are well beyond 72 hours now. They have their own attorney working on things, with the Missouri Press Association. OUR requests through our attorney for the city attorney's legal billings to the city as well as some meeting records (and a tape of the Oct meeting where the councilman blew up at us and our attorney warned them to proceed into closed session "with caution" citing the Sunshine Law) and other information hits the 72 hour mark at 8:30 tomorrow morning. We have that in our back pocket if needed. Our attorney will be present. So will some media - at least one KC television crew and maybe a 2nd (waiting for confirmation) as well as a radio station and of course our local paper.

    I'll keep you all posted. THANK YOU for the petition signatures - nearing 800 - I will be getting local signatures tomorrow and Saturday.

    Sarah
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  25. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled

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    BTW...

    Considering that the local people are reporting that AOPA is nowhere to be found in assisting with keeping this airport open, immediately after signing the petition, I called AOPA and told them that this is another prime example of why I left last year and why so many others have also.

    I would ask that you too call AOPA after signing the petition and express your disappointment with them...whether or not you're still with them...it only took a few more minutes.

    Maybe...just maybe...they'll finally start hearing their membership (and ex).
     
  26. Graueradler

    Graueradler Pattern Altitude

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  27. TheTraveler

    TheTraveler Line Up and Wait

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    800? Aren't there over 10,000 members here at POA?

    If it were a spin zone topic I could certainly understand some not wanting to sign or take part, but to save an airport? At POA?

    That surprises me that it's only 800. I thought it would have been well into the thousands by now.
     
  28. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Apathy...:sad::sad::mad:
     
  29. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Of the 9,241 members of PoA, only 812 have visited since the poll was posted. And of those, surely not all of them even saw the thread, so I'd say we're doing all right. I'm sure I'm not the only one who signed it without posting "Signed" here in the thread.
     
  30. Michele

    Michele Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Signed.
     
  31. TheTraveler

    TheTraveler Line Up and Wait

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    Agreed on the doing alright! Thanks for the stats, that helps put things in perspective, and it's a lot closer to what I would have expected.
     
  32. flav8r

    flav8r Line Up and Wait

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    You can also post the question on the AOPA Facebook page to draw more attention to the matter.
    I know I will.
     
  33. 1600vw

    1600vw Pattern Altitude

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  34. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    done, good luck
     
  35. Dean

    Dean Pattern Altitude

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    I signed it yesterday.
     
  36. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Did anyone else send a nastygram to the chamber of commerce? Not that they have a lot of pull, but they do have access to people in the media, and I can only hope they are interested in keeping the place open.
     
  37. SarahD

    SarahD Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi guys! BIG news.

    The work session was this morning for the City Council. We had quite a few people there - not PACKED, but full considering it was a 7:30am weekday meeting. The Fox news station in KC was there too. They've done a complete 180. The "C" word wasn't even mentioned. Instead, they talked of the work they were suddenly doing at the field this week (clearing obstructions cited on the MoDOT report that were too close to the runway such as an old fence, shrubs, gravel pile...) and talked about the MoDOT inspector coming Monday to go over which trees on the golf course need to be topped/removed. They talked about the grant they want to submit to MoDOT for the runway overlay and that it's due 2/15.

    We think the point has obviously been made with them. :)

    They will be voting on a resolution to act on these improvements on Monday. I will say the Mayor and at least two councilmen seemed VERY frustrated with the City Attorney, saying things like they don't know why they were even voting on a resolution, to they didn't like the way it was drafted "too much legalese" and that it was "overkill". The Mayor downright snapped at him a couple of times. To say he is on thin ice is an understatement.

    Major news we can't 100% call a victory until Monday night.

    Our councilman that was so vehemently opposed to the airport later told an airport board member not only did he never say the "in the bag" comment regarding closure, but that he was "never against the airport". That is almost comical, as I can dig up a number of local paper articles over the year where he's quoted and says quite the opposite...

    but that's neither here nor there right now. If the City has the cajones to address the City Attorney issue, the grumpy councilman is small potatoes. Either way, at least it looks as if the airport is spared.

    THANK YOU ALL, SO MUCH, for your petition signatures. I still plan on printing it out and submitting it to the Council on Monday. I will report back then!

    Have a great weekend!

    Sarah
     
  38. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    Great News Sarah!
    Thanks for the update and keep your guard up! You know how politicians have a way of changing their position when the cameras go away.
     
  39. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I love it when a plan comes together. I'll fly in there next time I go NE and check up on things. Hope the expansion comes about, and you all get more traffic.
     
  40. JasonCT

    JasonCT Pattern Altitude

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    Great news indeed!
    Thanks for the update and the hard work!