Pella Chronicle

Local News

April 19, 2013

Dissatisfaction abounds at airport meeting

(Continued)

Pella —

These firms have a major financial impact on Pella, Oskaloosa and the entire region. They are key customers of the cities who need access to a Category "C" airport to remain competitive.

Kathy Krafka-Harkema, with Pella Corporation, discussed this with The Chronicle years ago. For the company to meet its business needs, quick and easy air travel has become just as important as highway infrastructure to remain competitive. The chance exists that, if the cities are unable to meet the needs of these major employers, they may leave, which could affect the quality of life for the region.

Federal and State government entities are also pushing local governments to work more regionally.

"Both of them have endorsed regionalization when it comes to transportation projects," Nardini said.

When the regional airport is completed, Nardini believes it will be the tenth-busiest in the state.

The SCRAA Board is reviewing the final three proposed sites. All three met with no objections from the FAA. A final selection may not be done for some time.

"It could be up to two years before that process is complete," Nardini said. This includes environmental impact studies and other preparation.

Acquiring the land for the final selected site has yet to be addressed. Shrock and Nardini indicated that the owner of the site would receive a "fair and equitable" offer for the land. They are hopeful the eminent domain process will not be necessary, as a similar project in northwest Iowa that is currently being finished, was able to do so without this process.

Nardini said he answered questions from people Thursday night, until around 8:40 p.m. Most of the questions proposed to him focused on the partnership and the finances of the project.

The SCRAA board has not set its next meeting. Look to the Chronicle to follow this story as it continues.

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