Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Local Voices: Our airport can advance economic development in Lansing


Submitted by Bob Malkas

I think it would be beneficial for the people of Lansing to view my interview with Ric Bratton on his nationally syndicated podcast This Week in America. It is about my book, The Village of Lansing and its Airport: Past Present Future. I think it would help to advance understanding of what the airport can do to advance economic development in Lansing. We have enough restaurants!

It takes 24 minutes to view. After it is viewed, I would be interested to hear how it is received by the readers of the Journal.

Bob Malkas

Local Voices
Local Voices
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.


  1. Good article! What really struck me was the comment about the use of the Ford Hangar becoming a military/aeronautical museum. the Village has had the approval for that use for years, but it has not been acted upon. It would be a wonderful addition to the community. A great new destination for people to come into our Village and a great backdrop for events held at the FH. There are people in the community ready to advance such a project.

  2. How much does Lansing spend on running the airport? How much does the airport generate?
    Is it or has it ever been in the black?

  3. Musems, historical sites…etc., have access to funds not available to the private sector. From past articles in the Journal, the Village of Lansing administrators look to the airport as a revenue generator by way of parties, weddings, and events of the like. Economically, allowing the stately hanger with all it’s history to be promoted as a place to house a personal bash is subject to season, price point, preserving building integrity, and a host of other factors that would require a profit to maintain limiting the jewel that the airport and hanger are. I would rather be able to say to an out-of-towner ‘come see the wonderful aeronautical museum that started with an automation idea that needed a place to land. The possibilities are endless drawing from surrounding communities that benefited from this industrial revelation that provided work to this area. Party or museum? I highly doubt they could co-exist together in one space. I have never seen a visitor trash a museum, but have seen it in a party rental venue. Accidents happen even with the most expensive deposits asked for.

    Henry Ford purchased the land for the airport so he could fly between the auto plants in Detroit and Chicago Heights. The airport also was the stage to display his Trimotor planes. Growing up in the 60’s I remember going to the airport to watch sky divers rolling up endless yardage of silk and nylon only to watch it unfurl above us as they jump from the planes. This brought crowds everytime with cars parked up and down the road to catch a glimpse.

    Anything done to the airport [hanger], and all that that implies, should go to a referendum vote. Let the residents of Lansing decide. I wonder if renting out the hangor to the general public to throw a party ever crossed Henry Ford’s mind. A museum is a lasting legacy that will live on and on, a destination that would support restaurants, accommodations, fieldtrips in the name of education, and the like….sky’s the limit.

    To quote Leonardo da Vinci, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

    Roger. Over.

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