September 2, 2008

Airport Plans Include Moving, Sizing Runway



Staff Writer

WOOSTER -- The county's airport authority reviewed more than a half-dozen proposals in August related to its new master plan, which will provide for growth and Federal Aviation Administration compliance during the next 20 years.

The biggest decision so far is to move part of the runway. The board and commissioners are considering lengthening the west side of the runway by about 200 feet and reducing the length on the east side.

The change is expected to move the runway farther away from the new terminal, ensure a safe distance from other terminals that are expected to be built in the coming years and keep it in compliance with FAA requirements.

In order to lengthen the runway, board members had to consider a way to meet the safety zone compliance in consideration to Honeytown Road, which runs perpendicular to the runway.

The proposals included everything from building a tunnel on Honeytown Road to closing the road to relocating it, as well as the airport. Relocating the airport would require a high amount of capital for land acquisition, pavement, a terminal, hangars and other infrastructure, the county engineer explained in a document to the airport.

Jedd Sprunger, president of Sprunger Air Services, which is located at the county airport, said progress is going well, but it will take some time, especially with the larger projects. A big factor is federal funding and the timeliness of when it is received.

"We can have a plan, but will the FAA back it" is the question, he said.

Another restraint is the time it will take to get all the data in place. The airport authority has several projects planned, including construction of T-hangars, the leveling of some elevation, along with the moving of the runway -- all projects that will take careful planning, Sprunger said.

"It will take a while until we get all the engineer's data" and other project information, he said, adding it will be a "long-term project."

Sprunger estimated the county's airport sees about 20,000-30,000 landings a year, a number officials expect could increase once all of the projects are complete.

The airport was moved to its current site in 1963.

Commissioner Cheryl Noah, who represents the commissioners at the airport meetings, said the companies at the airport are doing well and the airport is growing, as it must.

"I think there's been a great deal of attention given to the airport as there should be," Noah said. "It's a very important part of our economic development in Wayne County and we must keep it viable."

The county's last master airport plan was adopted in 1987. Formation of the current plan began in 2004.

Noah said whatever funds can be received from the FAA will be a driving force for the various projects.

Reporter Chris Kick can be reached at 330-287-1635 or e-mail [email protected]

Originally published by By CHRIS KICK Staff Writer.

(c) 2008 Daily Record, The Wooster, OH. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.