August 30, 2017 Edition

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Commission approves lease
on disaster training facility

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission approved a lease agreement between the city of Walnut Ridge and Arkansas State University on land to be used for a disaster training facility.

The facility will be used to train law enforcement and emergency responders and is expected to bring in hundreds of people in the area weekly.

"I believe this has the most potential that any business has for economic development," Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said.

Last week, the Walnut Ridge City Council approved appropriating $25,000 to use in a lease agreement with ASU. The money will be used to pay for the land while ASU secures the funding for the facility. Snapp said this was necessary because the Federal Aviation Administration wouldn't let the airport release a revenue stream.

The amount the city has invested will pay for two years rent. Snapp said he didn't know how long it would take for ASU to secure the funding, but that the lease would not go into effect until ASU was ready. Until then, the property will continue to be used as farmland. ASU has up to five years to activate the lease.

The ASU Board of Trustees will vote on the lease agreement in its September meeting.

Also at the meeting:

Commissioners approved the Wings of Honor Museum to host a fly-in on Oct. 14 to celebrate the airfield's 75th anniversary. They also donated $100 to go toward the fish fry that will be held the same day.

Airport Manager Stacy Hoggard said she would get quotes on a four-camera wireless system to increase security at the airport.

Chair Don Cavenaugh said V&B Manufacturing is moving out of an airport building in the next one to two months. He said once the building was empty, they would look at improvements needed.

the commission approved a one-year lease on hangar 25 to an aviation repair shop.

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