Friday, October 9, 2009

County seeks volunteers for airport board

Blaine County Commissioners submitted their airport location preference to the Federal Aviation Admi

The three members of the Blaine County Commission are Larry Schoen, Tom Bowman and Angenie McLeary.


Do you love the smell of jet fuel in the morning? Not really, you say? OK, let's ask the question another way—how would you like to become involved in helping Blaine County relocate its airport successfully?

The County Commissioners are looking for civic-minded volunteers to serve on the new Blaine County Airport Advisory Committee. The nominations process is now open. The purpose of this committee is to advise the current airport board and the County Commissioners on issues related to the economics, planning, design, construction and governance of a new Blaine County Airport. Optimistically, the new airport will open in five years, so the work could be demanding as well as very rewarding.

Here's a summary of the vision guiding this committee, taken from a recent County Resolution: "To build a safe, reliable, all-weather, economically viable, relocated airport, on or around Site 10, for Blaine County residents and visitors. It will conform to FAA standards, reliably serve the Wood River region, accommodate future growth and demand and reflect the overall values and goals of Blaine County and our Comprehensive Plan."

So, you are interested in the new airport? The question is, should you apply for this committee? If you live in Blaine County, have adequate time to devote to the project and like a strong challenge and working closely with others, the answer is yes. Your experience counts, but that does not have to mean you've worked at an airport; few of us have. You also must be willing to support the process and research the issues. This will not be the venue for anyone with an axe to grind or who opposes airport relocation, including to the board's preferred site.

The commissioners submitted their airport location preference to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2007. Analysis of that site—south of Timmerman Junction, just east of state Highway 75—is moving through an environmental impact statement evaluation process, along with other locations chosen by the FAA for comparison purposes.

Nominating committees, including city officials, in each county commissioner district will be reviewing applications and nominating three of the five seats on the advisory committee; a fourth nomination will come from the aviation community and a fifth member will be chosen directly by the commissioners.

If you are still interested, look on Blaine County's Web site——for application instructions. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 22. Questions should be directed to Jenny Lovell (commissioners' assistant) or Commissioner Tom Bowman at 788-5500.

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