Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

July 5, 2014

MDOT seeks public input for Frankfort airport

TRAVERSE CITY — The Michigan Department of Transportation hopes to learn more about what Frankfort residents want out of their airport.

Members of MDOT scheduled a public meeting to discuss Frankfort Dow Memorial Field’s Airport Layout Plan, which maps out the airport’s future.

“We’re looking for community members, airport users, economic development people to step forward that may have clients flying into airport or utilize it for transport of good or employees to tell us what they think a plan should look like,” said Linn Smith, an airport planning and zoning specialist for MDOT.

The airport, located in Benzie County, doesn’t have any regularly scheduled flights and mostly is used by businesses and private aircraft.

Airport authority chair Bruce Harwood urged local residents to attend the meeting.

“Everybody should come and be heard, because ultimately if this airport is enlarged and the costs go up and the traffic does not increase, we’re going to be operating in a deficit,” Harwood said.

Harwood hopes the airport can continue to shorten the runway for landing planes.

Currently, landing planes don’t use the entire runway because there are too many obstacles in the surrounding area.

“It was, in my opinion, ill-conceived to put that much runway in,” Harwood said of the 4,000-foot long runway.

The original airport layout plan set the stage for clearing the rest of the area around the airport, but Harwood said authority members no longer want to do that because Airport Road would have to be rerouted.

The public meeting will take place on July 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Frankfort Elementary School cafeteria. There will be no formal presentation, but members of the public are invited to take part in the open house-style meeting.

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