Reprinted courtesy of The Worthington News/SNP (c) 2004.
City Council says it is gathering information on the proposed airport expansion.
by Scott Tackac
A community group recently presented Worthington City Council with a petition signed by more than 1,200 are residents stating their opposition to a proposed runway expansion at Don Scott Airport.
Tony Pello, president of We Oppose Ohio State airport Expansion, said the WOOSE petition had signatures from residents in Worthington and surrounding areas and was meant to show to council the regional importance of the issue.
Pello said he thinks Worthington City Council is paying more attention to potential drawbacks of expansion than neighboring communities like Dublin and Columbus -- areas he said stand to benefit from revenue generated by the airport.
"The companies that typically use Don Scott now ... are primarily located in Columbus and Dublin," Pello said. "I think that's part of the reason Dublin and Columbus have approved this is there's part of the revenue there that they're enjoying."
According to council member Lou Briggs, council is still in the information-gathering phase and will wait until hearing from its consulting firm before taking any formal stance.
"We're still in the gathering information stage and we're waiting for more to come back from Don Scott and our attorney and consultant," Briggs said. "... But also there are a number of us on council concerned about what we have gleaned so far."
Briggs said she is contacted frequently by members of WOOSE and she was not surprised by the petition.
"I guess my reaction was I was not surprised that they had other individuals outside of the city learning more about what was happening," Briggs said.
Briggs said the importance to many Worthington residents of an expansion was something she noticed on the campaign trail last year.
"We were interested to begin with but when I was going door-to-door last year campaigning I heard lots of comments related to the expansion," she said.
Pello said plans for the airport aim to make it a corporate jet gateway, something he said will be harmful to the community.
It's not the financial commitment that Pello said worries residents as much as what he identified as the bigger picture.
"I think the monetary commitment that Worthington would provide to this is a small opposition," Pello said. "the larger part is the damage it's going to do this community. A corporate jet gateway is going to have a significant impact on our property values, our quality of life, our historic district."
Reprinted by permission of Suburban News Publications
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