July 10, 2013 Edition

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Airport commission to
restrict traffic on ramp

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission voted to restrict traffic on the airport's ramp, replace a security gate and meet with airport engineer Stacy Morris to discuss an Airport Improvement Program Grant at their meeting on Monday.

The broken security gate at the south end of Swindle Field will soon be replaced with a new sliding gate at a cost of $3,956. The old gate is beyond repair, and the price of a new one includes installation, keypads, sensors and a five-year warranty.

Unauthorized traffic on the ramp will be restricted from the south gate to the north gate. Commissioners voted in favor of the restriction after Commission Chairman Dan Coker told them that the military doesn't want anyone on the ramp unless they are authorized by Airport Manager Michelle Anthony or someone else with the authority to grant permission.

Emergency and law enforcement vehicles will still be allowed on the ramp.

Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richy Thatcher attended the meeting and said a fine will be enforced for those who do not comply with the restriction. He will check into the possibility of enforcing a state statue or a city ordinance and make recommendations for the amount of fines.

Chairman Coker told the commissioners that the 150 lights on Runway18-36 continue to be a problem.

He said he talked to Ed Agnew, manager of Arkansas/Oklahoma Airports Development Office at Federal Aviation Administration, and told him that the Walnut Ridge Airport can't seem to get the lights repaired and keep them working.

Agnew suggested the commission meet with airport engineer Stacy Morris, go over the lighting needs with him and reapply for an Airport Improvement Plan Grant.

"Rewiring the problem area will cost between $200-$250 thousand dollars," Coker said.

A meeting with Morris was approved.

Commissioners voted to continue paying $1,595 per year for service with QT-Tech's self-serve machine on the fuel farm. Anthony said they use it on a daily basis, and that the airport will not be charged for updates and will have 24-7 tech support.

In other business:

  • the commission agreed to lease property to Donald Parten, who wants to buy the building that sets on the property and use it for a farm shop. Johnnie Brewer currently owns the building. Brewer will be let out of his lease on the property and the commission will enter into one with Parten.

  • Anthony reminded commissioners the Arkansas Airport Operators Association Conference will be held in Eureka Springs Sept. 15-17.

  • commissioners learned that the roof on hut #4, the old Arkansas Turbine building, is still leaking despite several visits from the company that installed it. She and other airport employees are working to correct the problem.

  • Frank Kelley, owner of Allied Ag-Cat, gave commissioners a verbal estimate of $10,000 to repair the airport's tetrahedron. The commissioners asked him to bring a written estimate to the next meeting.

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