A decade-old improvement project at Jackson County Airport moved a little closer to reality Tuesday with the settlement of a property dispute.
County commissioners voted to pay an additional $14,500 to end the objection of a Maynard Road couple whose land was condemned for an aviation easement.
Easements were needed on 26 properties, and only two remain unsettled, said Airport Manager Kent Maurer.
Improvements are needed to meet federal safety guidelines requiring 1,000 feet of clear land at the ends of runways, Maurer said. It is a massive project expected to cost $30 million.
Runways will be realigned, or turned slightly clockwise on maps. Easements and some properties were needed from neighbors.
Easements on the Maynard Road property, owned by Richard and Barbara Vanderburg, would allow the county to cut many trees.
Through the condemnation process, the county paid the Vanderburgs $21,750 in November, but they were not satisfied.
“They will lose big, old trees that define the neighborhood,” said Stephen Conley, a Jackson attorney who represents the Vanderburgs. “It will totally change the character of the neighborhood.”
As final settlement, both sides agreed to an additional payment of $14,500, plus interest and attorney fees.
Initial stages of construction are scheduled to begin this year.