June 5, 2008
By AOPA ePublishing staff
It took unprecedented dedication and cooperation from politicians, pilots, and communities at large to create what some involved have called a miracle—the reopening of a general aviation airport four years after it closed.
A ceremony reopening Lanett Airport in Alabama was held May 21, thanks to residents and political leaders in four cities and two states. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Mike Ballard was actively involved in raising community awareness and support for the airport, preparing necessary paperwork, and working with city and FAA officials.
“To finally achieve this goal is very fulfilling but also exhausting,” Ballard said, noting that it took a combination of perseverance, cooperation, and a drive for economic development that led to the opening of a new automotive manufacturing plant just five miles from the field, a plant that will bring jobs to the once-depressed area and benefit from easy access to an airport.
Other factors included the dedication of local politicians. In fact, Lanett Mayor Oscar Crowley campaigned on a promise to reopen the airport—a promise he was able to fulfill. And Crowley was by no means the only elected official who worked to get the airport back in business.
Leaders from the cities of Lanett, Valley, and Lafayette in Ala., and West Point in Ga. banded together to promote the airport and keep the project on track. During the reopening ceremonies, Valley Mayor Arnold Leak recognized the exceptional cooperation that brought the airport “back from the dead” and looked ahead to the addition of another runway.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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