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Don Scott Field Decision: Worthington council told to keep fighting
Columbus Dispatch, July 19, 2005

By Dean Narciso

Less than a week after Ohio State University announced it will delay plans to expand operations at Don Scott Field, there were no victory speeches or high-fives from the suburb that opposed those plans.

In fact, the leader of the group that put up the biggest fight about the lengthening of a runway and addition of several jet hangars cautioned the Worthington City Council last night to keep fighting.

"Im here to tell you this is not a victory. We have gained nothing and we must remain vigilant," said Dennis Hennen, president of We Oppose Ohio State (Airport) Expansion.

In addition to delaying its major construction plans, OSU also pledged to lessen the noise for homes that are close to the airport; to begin a complaint system about noise; and to establish a permanent community advisory committee.

But Worthington City Councilwoman Bonnie Michael said she thinks Ohio State merely is stalling.

"I personally think this is a strategy to try to reduce the momentum of the public," she said.

The lawyer who represents Worthington was more optimistic.

"It is my belief that this decision was made, in part, because of the concerns expressed on your behalf," wrote David Zoll in a letter to the council.

"I congratulate you on your success and the positive impact that this decision will have on present and future citizens of the historic city of Worthington."

Zoll has been paid more than $78,774 to represent Worthington in negotiations and at meetings concerning the airport on the Northwest Side of Columbus.

A California consultant also has received $18,659.

David Elder, Worthington city manager, said Zolls services will continue on an as-needed basis.

Council President Lou Goorey said both OSU and Worthington need to learn to trust each other.

"We need to see if they act in good faith and then do likewise," he said.

In other matters, the City Council last night unanimously approved a contract with Dayton-based HarborLink to set up a free wireless Internet zone downtown.

HarborLink President Rick Tangeman held up a small box that he said will hold transmitters on poles, enabling Internet signals to be broadcast between South and Stafford streets beginning in September.

Although many private businesses have free wireless Internet, Worthington would be the first local community to provide such a service.

dnarciso@dispatch.com

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