Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

April 8, 2013

Regional airport opponents hold meeting in Leighton

LEIGHTON — A group of Mahaska County and Leighton residents concerned about the proposed regional airport met Thursday evening at the Leighton Community Center.

Organizers of the meeting said it was a private meeting and in no uncertain terms told members of the news media they could not come inside to cover the event.

However, Mahaska County Supervisor Mark Doland attended the hour-long meeting and discussed the concerns his constituents had with the regional airport.

Doland said that people at the meeting were concerned about two issues concerning the agreement signed to create the South Central Regional Airport Agency. He said the people are concerned that if the airport fails financially, county residents would have to pick up the tab. As a result, things such as property taxes would increase, he said. Another major concern is that people believe that they have no say in the process of condemnation of land if the government invokes eminent domain.

Doland said many people felt frustrated that they could not have an election vote on the regional airport.

During the meeting, the people discussed airport-related information on the city of Pella Web site  and talked about questions to ask the SCRAA.

Doland said the audience at the meeting came from all parts of the area — from Leighton to Oskaloosa, New Sharon and Pella.

Doland said the meeting organizers are not a formal organization but a group of people who hold random meetings. There is a group of people connected with the organizers but who are not official spokesmen who run a Facebook page — Stop The Airport From Being Built in Mahaska County — who post meeting notices.

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