Congressman All Ears on GJ Airport Fence Controversy
POSTED: 12:41 am MST January 11, 2012UPDATED: 2:37 am MST January 11, 2012
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. --
owners upset about Grand Junction's new airport security fence are
involving leaders on a national level. Tuesday night, the group appealed
to Congressman Scott Tipton for help."I don't think it's that
the people aren't coming, I think it's that the gates are intimidating,"
one businesswoman said at the meeting behind a closed security fence.Dozens
more filled the crowd all with their own story of lost revenue and
failing business. "Its like almost being in a morgue out here, right
now," Bob Erbisch with Aero Fuel said.
He has already shut his fuel pump
down, plans to remove it in the coming weeks, and blames it all on the
inconvenience of that security fence."We either have to have
someone waiting out there to open the gate for our customers or shuttle
five in at a time," a business owner said. "What [the airport] has done
is passed the cost of security on to our employees."While most
are focused on the effect this fence is having on their bottom line,
some accused that the airport of not having permission to build the
gates until after they were already under construction."The city
is working with the county and the airport authority to find a solution
to this problem," Grand Junction Mayor Tom Kenyon explained at the
meeting.What started as a grant-funded wildlife control fence a
few years ago quickly morphed into a security project. Now, business
owners say it's not only keeping the animals out but deterring customers
as well."We just started getting things going and now the gates have gone up and it's tough," one businesswoman said.The
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has even come out saying the
fence is the most unusually severe security gate in all of America.
Still, these business owners say they are getting nowhere with the
airport."It does actually impact real people, real lives and real
jobs," Scott Tipton says of federally approved projects. "Washington
needs to understand that."If something doesn't change soon, they
say the general aviation community could evaporate. "We need to come up
with some solutions together and soon because they're losing hope fast,"
Mayor Kenyon noted."It's too late for us, it's too late for me,"
Erbisch said of his refueling business. "But, it's not too late for
those that are upcoming."Congressman Tipton hopes the issue can be resolved locally but says he will have no problem following it from Washington, D.C.Airport
officials were not at the meeting because they say they were not
invited. They are, however, willing to look at any alternative plans
that meet TSA requirements.
Copyright 2010 KJCT.
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