June 18, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Forks Township, Pa.’s Braden Airpark has received a reprieve after the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority’s board of governors decided to wait 120 more days to review alternatives to closing it down. The board held a special meeting June 13 on the issue.
In late May, the airport authority's executive director formally recommended closing Braden Airpark, saying the authority could not afford to pay a $16 million court judgment, nor could it afford to pay for $2 million in improvements needed to update the facility.
But AOPA and the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association say the move would hurt GA pilots, businesses, and organizations based at the airport.
In local press reports, board Chairman Tony Ianelli said after hearing concerns on the impact of closing Braden Airpark, it was wise to take time to study alternatives to shutting it down. Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Executive Director Charles Everett told the Lehigh Valley Business that the authority has an appraisal on Braden Airport, but declined to disclose how much.
Braden Airpark is a valuable resource that deserves to be protected, said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "AOPA will continue to work with the airport authority, the Forks Township government, the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association, area pilots, and anyone else on finding ways to keep this community asset open to the public.”
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