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OSU Airport Will Add Radar Systems, Form Committees
The Worthington News, August 24, 2005

OSU AIRPORT WILL ADD RADAR SYSTEMS, FORM COMMITTEES


By BRITTINY DUNLAP
Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP 2005

Ohio State University\'s Don Scott Airfield will add a new radar receiver and data collection system at a cost of $300,000, it was announced last Wednesday at an open forum hosted by the Northwest Civic Association.

Bud Baeslack, dean of the College of Engineering at Ohio State, announced the recent development to more than 50 members of the local community who attended the forum to hear Baeslack and Dennis Hennen, president of We Oppose Ohio State (airport) Expansion, speak.

Baeslack said OSU is on a path to aggressively track the noise complaints and the addition of the radar system will make a significant difference in the response time. The airport currently obtains its radar data from Port Columbus, which makes it difficult to receive information in a timely manner, he said.
\"It is laudable that OSU is going ahead with the radar system, but we don\'t know how well it is going to work,\" Hennen said.

Baeslack also announced that two committees will be formed before Oct. 1 to discuss the airport\'s expansion. The committees will include residents of the surrounding cities, members of civic groups, airport users and university administration. Baeslack guaranteed WOOSE representation in the committees.
The first committee, the OSU Airport Advisory Committee, will review and advise university administration and airport staff regarding operations, capital improvements and the development and expansion of the airport.

The second committee, the OSU Airport Noise Advisory Committee, will review the airport noise compatibility program, address any noise-related issues and make recommendations to the Airport Advisory Committee. Baeslack said membership of the two committees will overlap to ensure continuity of the messages.
However, long-term plans were not enough to satisfy some residents at last Wednesday\'s forum.

\"Not only do we have future problems, but there are problems right now,\" Hennen said.

For nearly 90 minutes, community members drilled Baeslack with questions protesting the expansion.

Residents continued to express concern over the noise of the planes and their flight patterns. One resident of the Riverlea area said a plane was so low to the ground she could read the writing on the plane and see the pilot in the cockpit.

\"Come to my house during Muirfield and then you\'ll find out what it is going to be like,\" said a resident about the level of noise she is expecting after the expansion.

Residents cited the inconsistency between the mission statement of the airport and its actual use.

Hennen displayed advertisements in the phone book that called the airport the \"corporate gateway to Columbus.\"
\"The transformation into a corporate gateway is fundamentally wrong,\" Hennen said.

Some residents insisted use of the airport remain focused around the founding principals of education.

Additionally, Worthington City Council, Riverlea Village Council and residents continue to ask OSU to perform a single-event analysis.
\"It\'s not the averages that wake us in the middle of the night. It is the single events,\" Hennen said.

Baeslack said such an analysis is not necessary and the environmental assessment that already had been conducted is sufficient to provide the necessary information needed for the noise study.

\"Why are you so afraid of the (analysis)?\" asked one local resident. \"If we are all crazy and we\'re all wrong, then prove it to us.\"

The airport\'s 2004 master-plan update recommends four projects in the first phase of expansion.

They are expected to extend the airport\'s north runway to a length of 6,000 feet; to close and remove the 14/32 runway; to add large community hangars on the south side of the airport; and to install a precision-approach instrument landing system for aircraft landing from the east.

Baeslack announced at a July Worthington City Council meeting that Ohio State University officials have postponed development of the extension of the north runway and addition of jet hangers for the next two to three years. That was announced after a review revealed more strategies need to be tried to minimize future noise.

Based on the timeline presented by Baeslack, a public hearing on the assessment is projected for January, and a presentation of the final environmental assessment and final master plan is scheduled for the OSU Board of Trustees to review in February. Possible action could be taken as early as March.

Read more Central Ohio Community News at the Suburban News Publications Web site, SNPonline.com.

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