June 26, 2008

Local Airport Growing, Providing More Services

By Ronica Shannon, Richmond Register, Ky.

Jun. 26--Madison County is keeping up with modern-day needs as the Richmond-Madison Airport continues to grow and provide more services, George Wyatt said Wednesday during a presentation to the Madison Fiscal Court.

Wyatt a member of the airport board, began his presentation with a quote from Steve Parker of the Kentucky Department of Aviation.

"Counties have realized if you don't have a good-sized airport, business will look at you and rule you out because you are behind the times," Parker said.

The Richmond-Madison Airport is a facility that often has been overlooked, Wyatt said.

"Access was 14 miles from Richmond and nine miles from Berea along back roads," he said. "Many people got lost trying to find it."

The airport, located at 124 Madison Airport Road, is now much more easily accessed, which will continue to be an attractive asset to business owners looking to expand into Madison County.

Interstate 75 Exits 83 or 77 allow access to the airport.

"It is four miles south from the new (Richmond) Exit 83, four miles north of Exit 77, eight miles from the EKU Bypass," he said. "It's close to the Berea industrial park, Blue Grass Army Depot and Eastern Kentucky University. This is a very, very centralized location with very good access to I-75."

Nathan Hoskins manages the Richmond-Madison Airport that now features a wide variety of services.

"There are a lot of different activities that happen out at the airport," Wyatt said.

The airport offers flight instruction, aircraft rental, maintenance, air charter and aircraft storage.

There now are 42 aircraft based there, an Automated Weather Operating Station (AWOS) that can be called at 985-5969 and 24-hour automated fuel is available.

The Madison County Airport Board receives $10,000 each in funding from Richmond, Berea and Madison County governments for overall operations, and the yearly operating and maintenance budget is about $25,000, Wyatt said.

Planning for the airport began in the 1970s and opened in 1979. Since then, the 4,000-foot-long runway has been lengthened to 4,600 feet.

The state has committed to lengthening the runway again to extend to 5,000 feet, Wyatt said.

Tours of the Richmond-Madison Airport can be given to individuals or groups by calling 986-3913.

In other business:

--The court accepted the final reading of the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget that includes more than $34 million in "pass-through" (federal) money from the federal government, totaling $60,203,751. This amount is about $10 million less than last year's county budget.

The 2008-2009 budget includes $34,256,669 in CSEP funding, $18,281,092 in general funds, $3,377,738 in road funds, $2,069,500 in jail funds, $1,230,000 from the LGEA (Local Government Economic Assistance Fund), $3,002 in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds and $985,750 in E-911 funds.

--The Madison County Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police were recognized for participation in the Youth in Action's "Sticker Shock" program.

The Youth in Action training teaches students the seriousness of underage drinking and how it affects the brain. They also are able to see nationwide and statewide results of studies and surveys documenting the negative impact of underage drinking.

"Sticker Shock" is a project where the teens, along with uniformed police officers, go into liquor establishments and gas stations that sell beer to place warning stickers on alcohol packages reminding buyers that it is illegal to provide alcohol to minors.

The Youth In Action program operates in conjunction with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

Tara McGuire, state youth program coordinator for Kentucky MADD, attended Wednesday's meeting where she read some statistics for the Madison County group.

Madison County's Youth in Action team has been functioning for about two years, but already holds the state record for the number of "Sticker Shock" stickers issued.

The team has placed about 15,000 stickers on alcohol packages since they have been working together as a group, McGuire said.

A Frankfort Youth in Action team held the state record before Madison County, but Frankfort has issued only 6,000 stickers in the four years they have been working as a group, she said.

The Madison County group has filmed a public service announcement that will start airing on cable channels beginning this week. The skit was created by the teens involved with the Youth in Action program.

"Some of them said that a lot of their friends are having people who are older go into alcohol stores and buy them alcohol," said Jennifer Webb, coordinator of the Madison County Teen Court program. "They think that the person who is over 21 is the only person who can be arrested."

The skit features the Madison County Youth in Action team, along with representatives from the Kentucky State Police, Richmond and Berea police departments and the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

--Scott Rollins of Madison County Community Partnership presented the fiscal court with a proposed ordinance that would mandate an alcohol server training program for individuals, corporations, associations, restaurants, businesses, clubs or other entities licensed or employed in the sales and/or service of alcoholic beverages.

The proposed ordinance states that an alcoholic beverage server cannot be employed unless he or she has successfully completed the training program. The training should be complete within 30 days of a new hire.

The Richmond City Commission passed the ordinance in 2006 to implement the RBS (Responsible Beverage Service) training.

The training emphasizes the importance of checking for proper identification for those appearing to be younger than 30, how to identify fake identification cards, how to recognize situations in which adults are buying alcohol for underage youth, how to refuse sales to those who may supply alcohol to youth, how to identify customers who are intoxicated and how to refuse service to underage youth and intoxicated customers.

Clark said he would take the ordinance into consideration and ask magistrates for their opinion about the training program.

--The court agreed to submit a request for a $181,545 Homeland Security grant that would help fund a new generator for the county's new Joint Information Center and 911 dispatch center, both located in the same building on N. Keeneland Drive.

--Five new streets located in the Traditions at Parkey Falls were taken into the county road system. The streets include: Gadwall Way, Braedens Way, Aishlin Way, Hawk Circle and Winstons Court.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at [email protected] or 623-1669, Ext. 234.


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