Pella Chronicle

Local News

April 19, 2013

Dissatisfaction abounds at airport meeting


Pella —

The fire chief arrived later and limited the number of people in the room at a given time to 50, leaving dozens more in hallways and another room.

The format and the planning disappointed one Leighton woman, who asked to not be identified. She believed that everyone should have been kept in the large auditorium, as this format made it difficult for people to get answers.

Others, outside of the community center, complained about the approach taken by the SCRAA to move the airport forward. They do not think the group was up front with information and accused the group of trying to hide information from the public.

Nardini said the process has been open. All meetings of the SCRAA Board are posted. The Pella City Council held at least two presentations on the airport before taking action on the 28E agreement. A public hearing was also held before the 28E was signed, but no comments were received. Nardini indicated that Oskaloosa did the same thing, and during its public hearing, only one individual commented.

"This process has been going on for some time," Nardini said. According to the public presentation, Oskaloosa and Pella began working on the project in July 2010. Discussion of the need for a larger airport to serve Pella began years before that.

The SCRAA was formed in March 2012 with a goal of building a Category "C" airport that would be within 10 minutes of the Oskaloosa and Pella city limits and within four miles of Highway 163.

A Master Plan is being developed in regard to finances and costs for the project, according to Nardini. Early numbers indicate that the estimated cost of the airport will be between $24-30 million. Nardini said approximately 90 percent of the cost is eligible Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding. These elgible costs include the runway, airport entrance, roads, land acquisition and road relocation.

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