Blaine residents voted this week to pursue an alternative land-use study that will include an economic impact study of the airport and the cost of closing the airport, buying out existing hangar leases, and cleaning up the property. "AOPA will work with the Blaine Airport Support Network volunteer to ensure that the study is unbiased and fair," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. The association had placed an ad in the local paper, urging residents to vote against the ballot measure, but only 600 of the roughly 2,200 registered voters mailed in ballots. "Despite AOPA's outreach efforts, large numbers of pro-airport voters did not turn out," said Dunn. "That's why it is critical for local pilots to reach those outside the airport fence and get involved in the political process." Developers nationwide have gone after airport land in small towns like Blaine and metropolitan areas like Concord, California. Blaine Airport is the only developable property in the city, and a real estate agent is trying to turn the land into a truck stop, tavern, and hotel. The Washington State Department of Transportation is exploring additional state involvement to preserve the airport.
November 11, 2005