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Worthington Residents Organize Against OSU Airport Expansion
ThisWeek Worthington, October 2, 2003

WORTHINGTON RESIDENTS ORGANIZE AGAINST OSU AIRPORT EXPANSION


Reprinted courtesy of ThisWeek Worthington 2003

October 2, 2003

DAN EATON


ThisWeek Staff Writer
By Joe Maiorana/ThisWeek

Worthington residents (left to right) David Denlinger, Jim Kelso and Ed Lentz speak to fellow residents about their concerns regarding the proposed expansion of the Don Scott Airport during a gathering at Scottie MacBean on Tuesday night.


By Joe Maiorana/ThisWeek
Worthington resident and city council candidate Mike Duffey speaks at Tuesday's gathering to address the proposed expansion of Don Scott Airport.


Worthington residents are forming an organized effort to oppose the potential expansion of the Ohio State University Airport (Don Scott).

Several residents gathered Tuesday night at Scottie MacBean to discuss their concerns. By the end of the meeting, petitions were signed, a regular meeting on the third Tuesday of each month starting Oct. 21 was set and $119 was collected to go toward yard signs and a Web site.

"Worthington has been here for 200 years," said Mike Duffey, Worthington City Council candidate who moderated the meeting. "We love our neighbors, but you can't get bigger without affecting others. We're not opposed to the expansion; we're opposed to the expansion affecting Worthington."

Many residents spoke, none supporting the proposed expansion, which would lengthen the facility's north runway and make a flight path along state Route 161 permanent.

Noise and its effects, including the potential affect on property values, was the most common concern; several residents said the potential for plane crashes was a worry, as well.

"I've lived within five miles of the airport all my life and the last few years I've noticed an increase in noise," said Fox Lane resident John Haueisen. "It's detrimental. I can't even leave my windows open."

Duffey said it is a "tenuous" argument to say Worthington would benefit from the expansion, with Worthington Industries being one of the only area businesses to use the facility, which mostly serves Columbus and Dublin companies.

Duffey provided information taken from the airport's Web site (www.osuairport.org) that stated the facility currently ranks fifth in the state for the number of takeoffs and landings. Projections included in the information predict a 40 percent increase in aircraft activity by 2020 from 499 a day in 1999, to 687 a day in 2020.

Ed Lentz, a Keyes Lane resident, said the group needs to contact elected officials at the local, state and national levels.

Duffey proposed writing letters to the nine-member Ohio University Board of Trustees, as well.

"Make (elected officials) take a position," Duffey said. "Either they're with us and they'll help or they're against us and they won't help."

Also in the information he distributed were contact numbers and addresses for state Reps. Linda Reidelbach (R-Columbus) and Jim Hughes (R-Colum- bus); state Sens. David Goodman (R-Bexley) and Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) and U.S. Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Columbus).

Another tact decided on by the group was to contact city of Columbus officials and city of Dublin officials in addition to continuing to speak on the issue at Worthington council meetings.

Kimberly Nixon-Bell of Olentangy River Road said OSU alumni should consider this issue when deciding whether or not to donate to the university.

"Money may talk, even if it's just my little bit," she said.

The group discussed starting a Web site that would include information about the proposed expansion as well as contact information for elected officials.

Currently, the airport has retained the services of DLZ Inc., which is conducting an environmental assessment of a potential runway expansion.

Worthington City Council also has hired a consultant to look into concerns with the airport.

The consultant's report is expected to be presented at council's Oct. 20 meeting.

deaton@thisweeknews.com

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