Hammonton (N.J.) Municipal
Airport Support Network volunteer
Mary Lou Hagen and her husband
Bill looking at the Atlantic City
casinos from the Bader Field ramp.
AOPA Eastern Region Rep. Bill
Leavens speaks in favor of
Atlantic City's Bader Field.
While city officials have neglected New Jersey's Atlantic City Municipal/Bader Field, targeting it for closure when the airport's federal grants expire, there doesn't appear to be consensus in the community about what to do with it.
AOPA Eastern Regional Representative Bill Leavens joined New Jersey pilots and local citizens at a public hearing Monday night, urging Atlantic City's City Council to keep it open as a working airport. The city council had called the meeting to take input from the community on the future of the airport before the city's federal grant assurances expire in September 2006. The city has been tiptoeing away from its maintenance responsibilities by doing the minimum to keep the airport open.
Largely missing from the meeting was the H-word: hostility. Of the more than 100 people who attended the meeting, Leavens said many were in support of keeping the airport open or opening up the property for mixed use, such as closing the crosswind runway and developing a portion of the airport property. Others said they would rather see soccer fields. One resident spoke in favor of the airport, pointing out that it's a part of the city's history while another said that it could be much more economically viable if the city maintained it right.
Leavens pointed out that closing an airport so close to casinos and other tourist attractions simply doesn't make sense, and there are untapped resources available to the city to upgrade the airport.
Although there wasn't enough time for everyone to speak — and there will be numerous additional public hearings — only two people argued for closing the facility entirely.
March 15, 2005