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OSU concerned with 'inaccuracies' in WOOSE report
The Worthington News (SNP, July 19, 2006

OSU CONCERNED WITH 'INACCURACIES' IN WOOSE REPORT


By LYNDSEY TETER
Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP 2006

A group critical of the Ohio State University airport recently released a negative 91-page document about the airport on its Web site, woose.org, and the university has had little to say in response.

WOOSE, which stands for We Oppose Ohio State Airport Expansion, released a report July 5 that chides the university for failing to operate the airport without a business plan, for being a poor steward of university land and for wasting its neighbors' time and resources, among other things.

Cathy Ferrari, external relations for the airport, said she was just getting a chance to look at the report Monday after returning from vacation.

"The university has not reviewed the report in detail; however, after preliminary analysis, we are concerned that many of statements and assertions are inaccurate, misleading or irrelevant," Ferrari said, adding that she believes the report may contain many unfounded allegations.

Ferrari spoke with William "Bud" Baeslack III, dean of OSU's College of Engineering, as well as Airport Director Doug Hammon and Robert Haverkamp, assistant vice president for business and finance for the university, before commenting.

The top criticism in the report states that the airport, "one of the busiest in the state, has operated without an approved business plan since it went public in 1959."

Ferrari said the university has a strategic plan, a five-year budget and "all sorts of documents that guide our operations, including a capital-improvements plan."

Worthington resident Ed Lentz, who co-authored the report with John O'Keeffe, said the second volume of the report considers the implications of OSU's broader plan for the entire Don Scott Field area surrounding the airport.
The report states that Don Scott field properties have lost $6.8 million in market value over three years, with some parcels losing more than 30 percent of their value.

"The report was written not only by people concerned by the airport, but by Ohio taxpayers concerned about the stewardship of a state-funded university," said Dennis Hennen, president of WOOSE and a member of the airport advisory board.

The university said such allegations are unclear.

"We don't even know what they are defining as property," Ferrari said.
University officials have not yet determined whether they will respond further to the report, and if so, how.

"We haven't decided if it's worth our time," Ferrari said. "We want to continue to focus on working through noise issues with neighboring communities."

The university has made strides toward reducing noise over neighboring communities, particularly during nighttime hours, Ferrari said. Installation of an aircraft tracking system that will allow the university to "monitor air activity around the airport and provide detailed information to citizens" is expected sometime this month.

The first volume of the WOOSE report, released in February 2005, received no response from OSU, Hennen said, although "we hope the issues raised here will be seriously considered and perhaps discussed at future airport advisory meetings."

The next meeting of both the airport advisory board and the noise committee is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Lab, 2300 W. Case Road.

The WOOSE report is not on the agenda, Ferrari said, although the groups will receive an update on installation of the aircraft tracking system, an update on the Part 150 study, and a report from Bill Habig, a former director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and vice chairman of both committees, on recommendations for the committees as the groups go forward.

Habig was asked by Baeslack to re-evaluate the groups' structures and progress and is expected to recommend a consolidation.

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

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