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Airport ready to take off

Scott Seitz2 • May 11, 2014 at 8:07 PM

The Huron County Airport Authority and its supporters held a lively discussion at a recent meeting regarding different ways to improve the facility.

Some lingering issues remain at the airport, including tree stumps, mud on the runway, drainage and the future of the commercial building.

Speaking of the commercial building, or business complex as it's sometimes called, Carol Knapp, Huron County Development Council executive director, told the board a business is interested in leasing 4,000 to 5,000 square feet of that building.

Knapp said the business would need office space, two hangars and possibly a mechanic's room.

The business is interested in a three-year lease, with an option to renew, Knapp said.

Doug Arnold, airport board secretary, said the business would purchase about 160 gallons of fuel per week.

In other business, an area pilot, who houses planes at the airport, is interested in bringing several more airplanes to Huron County from Lorain County.

That issue was referred to the board's rents and leases committee, which is made up of JAW. Kelley and John Evans.

Arnold, during his operational and financial report, said fuel sales at the airport remain soft.

"Fuel sales should start to pick up now that the weather has improved," Arnold said.

Also, the board approved paying $5,500 in property taxes on the business complex.

The commissioners have already filed a request with the county board of tax revision to have the business complex possibly revalued.

Arnold said that process could avoid a formal hearing if the board would allow the county auditor to walk through the facility to come up with a new estimate.

The board voted 4-1 to allow Auditor Roland Tkach to do a walk-through. Board member Jeff Savage voted "no."

During the public comment portion of the meeting, local resident Allen Nielsen said the airport has "phenomenal potential for economic development."

"Let's pull this thing together and let's go do something," Nielsen said.

Local pilot Don Roth reminded the board it has $600,000 in federal grant funds available through the Federal Aviation Administration. The board members only need to convince the county commissioners to apply.

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