Wednesday, January 4, 2012

City commissioners ask for airport meeting

Leavenworth, Kan. —  Leavenworth city commissioners want to meet with representatives of other government entities to discuss a proposed regional airport in the county.

Commissioners decided to request such a meeting Tuesday after listening to a presentation about a site selection study for the proposed regional airport. The presentation came during a City Commission study session.

Patrick Taylor said the proposed airport would be for general aviation and could accommodate medium to large size business jets. Taylor is an airport planner for Coffman Associates, which performed the site selection study.

He said an industrial park also could be developed next to the airport.

He said three finalist sites were selected as part of the study, with a recommendation for a site east of Lansing on Gilman Road.

The Leavenworth city government helped pay for a feasibility study for the airport as well as the site selection study.

A master plan and environmental assessment study are still needed.
Commissioner Phil Urban said Tuesday he is opposed to the Gilman Road location. He said another city, Lansing, is between Leavenworth and that site.

“I hate seeing everything going south,” he said.

Urban said he would vote against the city of Leavenworth being involved in building an airport at the Gilman Road site but he would vote in favor of the other two sites — one is located northwest of Leavenworth on Coffin Road and the other is southwest of the city on Eisenhower Road.

It was noted that the site selection study’s ranking for the Coffin Road site was only a few points less than the score for the one at Gilman Road.

Mayor Pro Tem Larry Dedeke also expressed misgivings about the Gilman Road site. He suggested work to develop the Centennial Bridge into a four-lane road could be hampered by development at the Gilman Road site.

Taylor said the main reason for recommending the Gilman Road site was its ability to support an industrial park.

He said the county government has served as the designated sponsor for the airport study process so far, and the issue was looked at from a countywide prospective.

Clyde Graeber, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission, attended Tuesday’s study session. He said county commissioners have not agreed by a vote to be the sponsor moving forward. He also said the formula used to split the costs for the future studies could change if some entities decide they no longer want to participate.

Miller suggested sending a letter to the county asking to arrange a meeting with officials from Leavenworth and Lansing as well as Basehor and Tonganoxie if they want to participate.

Taylor recommended the officials discuss the site selection as well as who will be the sponsor.

Miller agreed these are the two issues that need to be discussed.

City Commissioners agreed to Miller’s suggestion.

The Lansing City Council is scheduled to receive a presentation on the site selection study Thursday.

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