December 28, 2016 Edition

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Airport working toward
getting parcels released

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission received an update from Mayor Charles Snapp on two parcels of land in process of being released by the Federal Aviation Administration for non-aeronautical use.

One parcel is the site of Custom Plating and the documents required are being turned into FAA, according to Snapp. The other parcel has been approved to release upon its sale to a non-aeronautical industry.

Snapp confirmed that there are two local industries that have expressed interest in the open land, however the water system will have to be upgraded to meet requirements for fire suppression.

After working with FAA on these two parcels, Snapp said when a new manager is hired, an emphasis should be placed on the person's ability to work with FAA and bring in industry. He added that if possible, an alternative to a full-time manager might be to have a position focused on industrial development split between the city and the airport.

Commissioner Brett Cooper supported this idea. "We need a skill set that we may not be able to afford on our own." The commission tabled the manager discussion for a future meeting.

Also at the meeting, Chair Don Cavenaugh said that ETI Corporation of West Memphis has come to the end of its contract as the airport's engineering firm. Due to it operating with a smaller staff, ETI recommended the airport contract with a different firm.

The commission approved advertising for a new firm at the beginning of January with plans to bring a recommendation to the commission at the January meeting.

Cavenaugh said as soon as a new engineering firm is hired, the commission will be able to move forward in determining what grants to apply for.

In other Business, commissioners:

authorized the payment of insurance for 2017. Cavenaugh said the deductable has been increased from $5,000 to $10,000. He also recommended three properties that need increased coverage, at a cost of about $1,000, to be voted on at the January meeting.

approved a courtesy car agreement on vehicles the airport loans out to pilots.

authorized the advertisement for a dry land crop of 20 acres.

accepted the donation of a Kawasaki mule and generator from Cavenaugh and added the mule to the airport's insurance.

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