Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Airport hopes to expand

Grant would go for land, new entrance

BY Janet C. Wetzel
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN — The city's airport could be expanded by 10 acres this year if a federal grant is approved, paving the way for more hangar space and a new, more visible, entrance.

        The grant would cover 90 percent of the estimated $290,000 cost of the land adjacent to Hook Field, Middletown Municipal Airport.

        While that grant is pending, city commissioners today will consider a proposal to apply for a state grant to cover half the remaining 10 percent, said David Duritsch, Middletown's environmental services administrator.

        The land, which would be added to the airport's 320 acres, would likely be used to create a main entrance off of Ohio 4, and provide space for corporate hangars and for other airport development, Mr. Duritsch said.

        A new entrance would reroute much of the traffic that now winds through a residential neighborhood, he said.

        “This would get it out of the subdivision and onto a state highway,” Mr. Duritsch said. “It would also create more visibility for the airport by having the main entrance on a main route.”

        The extra space would allow relocating part of Runway Drive to add hangar space, and a new entrance would help visitors find the airport more readily, said Steve Cook, airport manager.

        “People can't believe the airport is in a residential neighborhood, and they often turn around and leave, thinking they're in the wrong place,” Mr. Cook said.

        All 60 hangars in seven buildings that were added since 1986 have been full since 1990, and one corporation is in a temporary hangar, said Mr. Cook. He is with Miami Valley Aviation Inc., which subcontracts some of the airport operation from Hogan Air, which leases it from the city. Miami Valley also runs a charter service and flight school out of the airport.

        Mr. Duritsch expects word on the FAA grant this summer. If approved, the city would buy the land immediately, but the work would likely be done next year, he said.


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