AOPA urges mayor to keep St. Clair airport open

July 24, 2008

AOPA has written to the mayor of St. Clair, Mo., reminding him of the city’s federal grant obligations and urging him to keep St. Clair airport open and safe.

AOPA got involved when members notified the association that Mayor Ron Blum had asked the board of aldermen to approve studying the cost of closing the airport. In making the request, Blum said the city could not afford to make improvements at the field, which has been allowed to fall into disrepair despite a recent runway rehabilitation.

In the July 21 letter, AOPA pointed out that the runway project used hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funds. As a condition of receiving those funds, the city agreed to keep the airport open, operating, and safe for at least 20 years.

“Communities everywhere are tightening their belts, but airports are a critical and irreplaceable part of the national transportation infrastructure,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports. “Grant-obligated airports can’t be allowed to close so communities can build more big-box stores or other developments.”