More than $600,000 in grants is available for the much-needed upkeep and repair of Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport in southwestern Ohio. But so far, the city of Cincinnati, which owns the airport, hasn't accepted any of the funds.
Local pilots' complaints of the condition of the airport have reached Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt, who recently requested that Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory accept the funds to repair the airport's runway and aprons. The airport, which is a reliever for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, lies within Schmidt's district.
AOPA President Phil Boyer and Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn had met with the mayor in May to discuss the future of the vital GA airport, which currently is not obligated by any federal grants to remain open.
Schmidt cited a September 2003 Ohio Department of Transportation pavement inspection, which found that the pavement on the approach end of Runway 6 needed to be repaired; four of the airport's aprons needed to be rehabilitated; and many cracks in the pavement needed to be sealed.
"I understand that no action has yet been taken on these recommendations, and pilots at Blue Ash Airport report that the conditions are now worse than they were three years ago," Schmidt wrote.
"Having served as a township trustee, I know that lack of funding often impedes local efforts to undertake projects such as those needed at Blue Ash Airport. However, I understand that funding is available through the FAA's Airport Improvement Program."
If the city accepted the grants, it would be required to come up with only 5 percent of the money. The other 95 percent would be taken care of by a federal investment.
Accepting the grants also would require that the airport remain open for the next 20 years.
"Blue Ash Airport is an important aviation asset in my district," Schmidt continued. "I urge you to take advantage of the FAA's AIP funding to provide the repairs and maintenance needed to keep the airport safe."
July 5, 2006