You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

State analyzing public airports

Springfield-Beckley, Urbana’s Grimes part of study involving funding.

In the 1960s, Ohio Gov. James Rhodes mandated that each of the state’s 88 counties have a general aviation airport.

Three decades after Rhodes left office for the final time, Ohio has 97 publicly owned airports for general aviation — each claiming to be critical to local economic development — but only so much money to go around.

The state is in the process of collecting information on each airport in order to help decide how best to spend the limited amount of money for general aviation.

As part of the Ohio Airports Focus Study, the Ohio Department of Transportation is holding public meetings throughout the state in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration. A meeting on Tuesday in Springfield will gather local input.

The meeting will run from 2 to 4 p.m. at Avetec, located along U.S. 40 on Springfield’s east side.

While aviation-related sales in Ohio generate more than $20 million annually in state sales tax, according to ODOT, that money goes to the state’s general fund.

Through a competitive grant program, ODOT distributed only about $725,000 in 2012 to the state’s general aviation airports, the likes of which include Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport and Grimes Field in Urbana, both of which are owned by their respective city governments.

Even though the FAA last year spent about $26 million on general aviation airports in Ohio, the combined funding only addressed a fraction of requests.

“We’re in a time of limited resources for most things,” ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner said Wednesday.

The state’s seven airports with commercial airline service aren’t included in the study, which is expected to issue its findings in the spring.

ODOT has stated it won’t be recommending airport closures, but Tom Franzen, assistant city manager for the city of Springfield, said he wouldn’t be surprised if hard choices need to be made.

“This is to gauge how active airports are,” said Franzen, who also serves as the city’s director of economic development.

“Are (97) airports necessary?” he said.

The study will assess the economic impact of each publicly owned airport and develop a framework for prioritizing improvement projects.

“Springfield-Beckley has been an important economic development amenity for many, many years,” Franzen said.

General aviation at Springfield-Beckley has picked up, Franzen said, in the three years since the Ohio Air National Guard’s imposing F-16 fighter jets went away and left the airport with a 9,000-foot primary runway and a 5,500-foot crosswind runway.

Despite that large size, which can accommodate heavy military transports, Springfield-Beckley has a general aviation budget that some consider modest.

Statewide, just 18 percent of general aviation airports have pavement that’s considered to be in good condition, according to ODOT.

Additional hangar space is needed at Springfield-Beckley in particular to accommodate a waiting list for space, Franzen said, but funding remains an issue.

Grimes Field in Urbana has a waiting list as well, said Carol Hall, airport manager.

“There’s just limited funds to do anything,” she said.

Used recently by a Learjet on area business, Grimes’ runway has cracks and needs to be resurfaced — repair work that looks to begin this month after a year delay — and the terminal is in need of remodeling, Hall said.

“You have to beg, borrow and steal to keep things in normal condition,” she said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Two area health systems named Top 15 in nation
Two area health systems named Top 15 in nation

Kettering Health Network and Mercy Health have been named two of the Top 15 health systems in the nation by the international business research firm Truven Health Analytics. It’s the fifth appearance on the Top 15 list for the Dayton-based Kettering system, comprised of eight hospitals, including Kettering Medical Center, Fort Hamilton, Soin...
Does humidity lead to more home runs in baseball?
Does humidity lead to more home runs in baseball?

Baseball season is well underway and you must admit there is nothing quite like relaxing at a ballpark and watching your favorite team play. But have you ever noticed that on an oppressively humid day, there seem to be more home runs? Perhaps you haven’t paid attention, but if you do attend baseball games regularly, see if you notice. How humid...
Clark County native finds success in costume design, on red carpets
Clark County native finds success in costume design, on red carpets

A 2008 Shawnee High School graduate was recently recognized for career as a costume and fashion designer. Megan Knowles was noted as a distinguished alumni in a Sinclair Community College address on April 17 that for her work that includes designing dresses for red carpet events. Knowles grew up in Clark County. She started designing dresses as a hobby...
Kane Brown makes a huge announcement about his love life
Kane Brown makes a huge announcement about his love life

Back on April 17, rumors began swirling that country star Kane Brown was engaged. Yet, without any sort of official announcement, many wondered if it was just pure hearsay. Well, it looks like we have our proof that this news is very true. In a video posted by a fan on April 18, Kane can be seen at a concert making the big announcement somewhat official...
FRESH IDEAS: Country to city

From The Walrus: “When did we first step out of the wild and into the forever-crowded city? There was a time when all we had was access to nature — we were so inextricably in it and of it. Our ancestors spent their first 2.5 million years operating as nomadic groups that gathered plants where they grew and hunted animals where they grazed...
More Stories