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Proposed Expansion at Waverly Municipal Airport Defended
- From: Colleen Turner <turner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 10:30:17 -0800 (PST)
January 2, 2004
Proposed Expansion at Waverly Airport Defended
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, IA
WAVERLY --- Bill Ramsey is one flying lesson closer to earning his instrument
Though he lives in Waterloo, Ramsey, a Realtor, chooses to use the Waverly
Municipal Airport for personal and business travel.
"It's a very neat little thing," the 20-year pilot says of the single runway
general aviation airport. "People need it in the area."
In the new year, Waverly's City Council will likely determine whether the
airport needs more space. Airport officials think so. Some pilots think so. The
Federal Aviation Administration thinks so.
But not all of Waverly's residents are convinced.
A prospective land acquisition project at the airport stirred emotions at
recent City Council sessions. Pilots and residents talked for and against
adding a buffer zone to bring the airport up to the latest federal design
"The land that borders the runway is not sufficient to meet that area," says
Norm Mutchler, a Waverly resident who volunteers on the city's airport board.
Last spring, the council rejected an airport commission's request to extend the
2,800 foot by 50 foot runway --- small compared to nearby Iowa airports, pilots
Now airport officials are asking the city to secure about 300 feet to the north
and 250 feet to the south of the runway corridor for safety reasons. If the
city owned the land, now used for agriculture and as a residence, that would
ensure the area was void of structures.
But the acquisition would relocate one home and impact about five other
properties. Affected residents say they live in fear that any land acquisition
would pave the way for future expansion projects.
"It's just not necessary," said Fred Krumwiede, who lives near the airport, at
a council session.
Council member Gary Boorom also voiced skepticism at the meeting.
"I haven't heard anything that said the planes that landed today can't be
landed tomorrow," Boorom said.
Waverly airport: economic value
Mutchler, a longtime pilot, scorns the sentiment that an airport, at least
non-commercial ones, are a country club for flyers.
"(People) don't realize the economic impact," he says. "Actually, it's one of
the vital arms of the transportation system."
Crop dusters work out of the Waverly airport to serve nearby farmers. Pilots
come from Wisconsin, even Florida, just for the plane maintenance work in
Steve Shields, manager of Cedar Valley Aviation, which handles the airport's
operations, says inquiries for instruction classes are consistent.
For area businessmen like Ramsey, being able to ferry clients around on a whim
and avoiding the cost of commercial flying and the congestion of larger
airports is important for business.
Civil air patrolman Steve Palmquist says when flying to and from towns such as
Storm Lake or Prairie du Chien, avoiding commercial airports can save thousands
of miles and hundreds of dollars.
"It just makes sense to have a direct route," he says.
Council members approved last month, by a 4-3 vote, a request to apply for
federal dollars. Taken from a trust fund raised within the aviation community,
the money would cover 90 percent of the $430,000 expansion project. The city
would fund the remaining $10,000.
Whether the council actually approves a land acquisition will likely be decided
in the next few months, said City Engineer Mike Cherry.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
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