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Commissioners: Lawrence airpark deal in the works

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Lawrence County officials will meet in Cincinnati next week with representatives of the Wilson family, operating as North Kenova Holdings, to see if an agreement can be reached for the sale of the Lawrence County Airpark and some surrounding property, according to Commissioner Bill Pratt.

"We think we can work out an agreement and put the property up for sale," Pratt said Thursday. "We're close to making something happen."

The commissioners canceled the June 13 board meeting at the courthouse due to the planned meeting in Cincinnati.

"We have 78 acres and they have 47 acres," Pratt said, of the property distribution between the airpark and the Wilson family. The board filed an eminent domain lawsuit against the family a year or more ago to gain control of the property.

In 1936, North Kenova Development donated the land along County Road 1 west of Chesapeake to the county for an airport. If the property ceases to be used as an airport, there is a clause in the deed giving the property back to the family after airport operations are halted for a year.

"We have looked at several sites to relocate the airport," Pratt said. No acceptable sites have yet been identified, he said. "We plan to keep the airport open until it's sold."

The county also has to reach an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration, which provided grants to the county for improvements at the airport. Pratt has asked the FAA whether the county can sell the property and how much the county would have to pay the federal agency if the sale went through.

The board agreed to proceed with an airport lighting project last fall, but didn't set aside the $26,000 local match needed for the project in its 2013 budget.

Pratt has proposed selling the property for commercial development.

In other action, the board:

Heard a report from County Treasurer Steve Burcham that second-half tax bills will be mailed out Friday or Monday.

Approved a $155,062 community based correction program subsidy grant agreement for county probation officials.

Accepted the resignation of Rebecca Dunn from the county Emergency Medical Services district effective July 5.

Hired Charles Daniel Herrell as full-time paramedic effective June 9.