October 26, 2016 Edition

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WR Airport to leave
manager position open

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission voted to leave the airport manager position open on a provisional basis.

Commission Chair Don Cavenaugh said the airport staff is willing to take on more responsibility, and Mayor Charles Snapp offered to run some of the airport administration through the city.

A large contributor to this decision was due to the airport being in its off-season. "I think at this time we need to watch our costs," Cavenaugh said.

Cavenaugh said they would revisit the vacancy in the spring unless it is determined the position needs to be filled sooner.

"We may go a month or two and decide we have to have one," Commissioner Scott Brady said.

The commission also agreed to increase the salary of both airport employees to $13 an hour and authorized Cavenaugh to hire a part-time employee if needed.

Also at the meeting, the commission reviewed a tract of 15 acres of land near Custom-Pak that has potential for economic development. The airport would have to await an FAA release to allow for the sale of the property, but Cavenaugh said there is already some potential for buyers.

Part of the land being discussed was set aside for the Chamber of Commerce land swap discussed at previous meetings. However, Chamber Chair Dina Rose said the land in question would have been used to promote economic development, which is the same goal the airport has for the property.

The clean up projects were also discussed. Cavenaugh said that one of the Morgan buildings, originally planned to be used for storage, might be able to hold a business. He said the Arkansas Economic Development Commission would review the building and recommend uses.

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens was at the meeting to detail the removal of the more hazardous materials, such as oil that was left. Owens said there was also some plane counter weights containing depleted uranium. He said while it is relatively safe, Universal Assets, the manufacturer, will pick-up the parts at no cost to the airport.

Owens stressed the importance of enforcing tenant clean-up at the end of leases.

In other business, the commission:

recommended to keep a Regions line of credit for $249,000 open. The Walnut Ridge City Council will need to approve it.

approved adding a military communication shelter to the city's equipment sale.

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