AOPA took a firsthand look at examples of how airport management in Clarinda, Iowa, is failing to meet its federal grant obligations—and will ensure that the FAA knows about it, too.
Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy, toured Clarinda’s Schenck Field on Sept. 30. He viewed a number of problems that had been identified by the Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer. Both the FAA and state of Iowa officials are inquiring into problems at the airport, he said.
“AOPA cares about GA airports wherever they are. Our ASN volunteer had been working with us regarding a number of potential violations of FAA grant assurances at the airport, including disposal of airport property without FAA approval, use of airport property for nonaviation purposes such as a concrete plant, and hangars used as nonaviation storage facilities,” he said.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources is investigating the cement plant operation, including disposal of excess concrete on airport property without containment of runoff.
Clarinda’s airport was conveyed to the city by the federal government in the late 1940s, which means it could never be closed with an act of Congress. It had been used as a POW camp during World War II. Over the past 14 years, the airport has also received over $2.5 million in development funding from the FAA.
“If the city continues to chip away at the airport’s facilities and land, it will certainly be a target for closure in the future, something AOPA wants to avert,” Dunn said in explaining the importance of addressing the violations.