After over 40-years of commitment and involvement with the LMA I feel I have a personal obligation in 2021 to continue promoting the correct path to follow that would allow the airport to become financially self-sufficient.
The strategy would have to start with a new commitment from officials to accept the long-standing official Master Plan to develop the airport. That plan already exists but is not updated as required. Its cornerstone is to extend the north-south runway by 2,000 feet. The airport will never be successful without this improvement. The short runways are not a condition that pilots want to contend with, and that limits the types of aircraft that would select Lansing as a base.
Once the revised policy direction is approved, it must be publicized so that the airport community can make plans for using it in their future flying.
Lansing passed Ordinance No. 13-023 in May of 2013. It stipulates that the airport should have a full-time airport supervisor to direct the process to manage the Village’s investment in the airport, and that would include complying with FAA and IDOT guidelines so that participation in grant programs could be insured. The community should be made aware of these plans.
The Illinois Division of Aeronautics proposed in the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Airport Improvement Program an offer to Lansing Municipal Airport of $5,500.000 dollars to construct, light, and mark Runway 18 End Extension (1,615×75’) and Runway 36 End Extension (285×75’).
There was no follow-through.
The newly appointed supervisor would become the point man in the process to gather information about existing conditions and make reports to the Village Board so that they can consider ways to improve and correct them. The Commercial Operator Agreements of all businesses now operating on the airport should be reviewed and updated. It should be determined if the Village is receiving maximum value from its management of that Village-owned building. A report should be prepared to detail how the Ford Hangar has been used as a revenue producer for over the last ten years. Are there any on paper plans to remedy the vacancy?
An inventory of all occupants of the 90 T-hangar units should be compiled and supplied to the Board for them to review and determine if they are being used correctly as required in their agreements with the Village. The report should detail the aircrafts being housed in each unit and the pilot who is paying the rent on a monthly basis so that the total number of aircraft using the field could be determined.
At one time all tenants received periodic newsletters to keep them informed about airport activities and plans for future developments. These should be on file in the airport’s records.
The airport owns the Quonset Hangar on the north side of the property. The supervisor should report to the Board on how it is currently being used — and how it has been used for the last ten years. The Sun Aero hangar now owned by the Village is occupied by businesses that pay some form to rent for their use of the building. The supervisor should prepare a report to the Board detailing the existing conditions. All T-hangar tenants should be given an opportunity to convey to the Board their comments on existing conditions at the airport and what they would recommend to improve them.
The Board should be given reports from the Illinois Division of Aeronautics on what would have to be done for Lansing to again be approved for federal grants. It would be the supervisor’s responsibility to provide this.
I have defined a course of action for dealing with the Cook County leasehold tax issue. They make one demand. Exempt the Lansing Municipal Airport from the tax both now and in future developments. Based on history there is not plausible explanation to deny this request. The taxpayers of Lansing have suffered for this Cook County failure.
Official records show that there were 172 aircraft based at Lansing in 2008. By 2018 official records show that the count was down to 119. I leave it to the readers to determine for themselves the reason for the decline.
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