Phil Boyer (center) helps cut the ribbon for the new Bellefontaine (Ohio) Airport. Mayor Robert Lentz stands to Boyer's left. Airport committeewoman Linda Erwin-Hutchins and Steve Buckenroth, airport manager and owner of the FBO, also assisted.
AOPA President Phil Boyer joined Mayor Robert Lentz and other local dignitaries in Bellefontaine, Ohio, for the grand opening of a brand-new $13 million municipal airport today. It is only the second new airport in Ohio in 30 years.
"This is a real community story of people sticking together to build a dream," Boyer told the large dedication crowd. "They clearly know and appreciate the value of local airports." In his remarks at the ceremony, Boyer noted that the number of public-use GA airports has been declining for many years, with nearly 25 percent fewer public-use airports today than in 1969.
The new airport is a replacement for the old Bellefontaine Municipal Airport and will retain the same identifier: 7-India 7. It's not even charted yet but is located four miles west of the old airport at N 40 22 20.33, W 83 49 08.46. It features a 5,000-foot runway, a new terminal building, and 10 new T-hangars, with 10 more under construction.
Planning for the airport began 20 years ago, when Mayor Lentz, then a city councilman, began pushing for a replacement airfield. The plan originally faced strong opposition, but over time, and with the help of the aviation community, Lentz won enough support for the project to go ahead.
The community effort continued when a local businessman and area pilot agreed to buy the current FBO owner's business and take over management of the airport for the city.