Clermont County looking at expanding runway at airport

January 30, 2013

CLERMONT COUNTY – Commissioner David Uible would like to boost economic development – by lengthening the runway of the Clermont County Airport.

The runway is 3,600 feet long, but for small business jets to use it, it needs to be 4,500 feet, said Hal Shevers founder and chair of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, a partner company to Eastern Cincinnati Aviation.

The county commissioners, who own the airport, would have room to lengthen the runway up to 6,000 feet, if they buy part of the adjacent property, he said.

“I look at it as economic development,” Uible said.

Large businesses with locations in the area, such as International Paper and 3M could use the runway for small business jets.

“You’ve got to have good companies to have good jobs, and good companies travel by executive transportation,” Shevers said.

Uible said the extension could afford the county the ability to handle overflow from Lunken Airport, if necessary.

While some businesses in the area could benefit from using the airport, the greatest advantage is the potential for attracting new businesses, Shevers said.

Uible said the idea still is in the due diligence stage, but county officials are looking into how much the project could cost.

“I don’t think lengthening the runway is a huge expense,” he said. “We’re not trying to build an airport. We’re just trying to lengthen (the runway),” he said.

He said funding dollars from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are available for the extension.

Shevers said Sporty’s would have to build more ramp space and purchase an additional fuel truck, but he is willing to make the investment.

The project has been discussed at various times since 1990, but it has never come to fruition, he said.

“I’m not really concerned about history,” Uible said. “I’m looking at the future and what we can do to stimulate the economy in Clermont County.”

– Published in the Community Journal, Clermont, a Community Press newspaper.