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Local News 4.12.2018

The proposed South Central Regional Airport continues to move forward one step at a time; the most recently airport-related meeting took place last Thursday, when representatives from HDR, the engineering firm for the project, discussed the land acquisition process for the new airport.  No actual land purchases are taking place yet; Jerry Searle, an airport planner with HDR, said projects like this take years and that no formal approval to start purchasing land had yet been given.  Concerns from those in attendance revolved around the dispute between Mahaska County and the cities of Pella and Oskaloosa, and, in particular, 220th Avenue in rural Mahaska County.  Searle explained that an access road for farm equipment is part of the airport mitigation plan.  Also discussed was the funding of land acquisition and how each respective city would pay their share. Pella city council will determine how they fund their portion, while the city of Oskaloosa is planning on selling nonaeronautical portions of ground at their current airport to finance their portion.  A timeline was also discussed between Searle and the attendees. Searle says that the land acquisition process, once it begins, could take upwards of three years.  ohn DeRooi, a landowner who owns property within the proposed airport site, also questioned the layout of the airport, and how the acquisition could impact parcels of land, saying those impacted parcels would lose their value.

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