Published On: Wed, Feb 20th, 2013

Future of Laurel airport is still uncertain

LAUREL — The Laurel City Council learned there is interest in the Laurel Airport.

Two men expressed their interest in using the Laurel Airport for their businesses at the Feb. 11 Council meeting.

At last month’s city meeting, board members had shown some concern after looking at the cost of maintaining the airport in 2012.

Board members were also told the elevation regulations connected to the airport could hinder a large business from putting up a facility at a site east of Laurel.

Clay Bode, Wayne, is interested in utilizing the airport for his spraying business.

Bode, who is a pilot, would carry the necessary liability insurance that deals with chemicals.

Norman Slama, from Wakefield, wants to start a business at the airport but would need to know the future of the airport is secure.

Slama would be doing maintenance work and over-hauling planes and would need a hangar for storage of older planes.

Slama’s vision is to build an additional hangar if the airport stays long-term.

“We wanted you to know there is definite interest in the airport,” Slama said.

Mayor Mark Patefield asked City Administrator Mike McCoy to check into the amount of work that needs to be done to get the airport in better shape.

Board members had discussed the possibility of closing or relocating the airport.

The Airport will be one of the items included on the agenda for the March city council meeting according to Patefield.

“We will decide on how we want to proceed with this,” Patefield said.

Jim Lichfield, acting street superintendent for Laurel, talked to board members about the proposed One Year Street Plan.

Industrial Road extension with an eight foot concrete street, curb and gutter, storm drains, driveways was the largest project listed in the One Year Street Plan.

Other projects included maintenance on Second Street and work that will be done on Adkins Drive between Second and Third Street.

Lichfield suggested during some of the bigger projects in phases in the future.

“That way you could apply for some grant money,” he said.

The City could approach the County about cost-sharing on a road that is located on the edge of the city limits.

The county would be responsible for half of the costs and the city would pay half plus all the costs for the intersections Lichfield said.

Economic Development Coordinator Luke Virgil asked board members to consider paving a portion of Fourth Street.

“For long term plans we need to definitely look at Fourth Street,” Virgil said. “There is a nice Football Field up there. If it is paved it would also be more attractive if someone is considering putting a house up.”

Heather Eagle, administrator for Hillcrest Care Center, presented a report to the board.

There are 32 residents at the nursing home and eleven residents at the assisted living according to Eagle.

Staff at Hillcrest Care Center will be implementing a new project.

“Over the next two months we will be working towards eventually going to electronic charting,” Eagle said. “We will be using laptops and we still have our desktop computers.”

Police Officer Ron Lundahl asked board members if there were any questions on the monthly police report.

Lundahl said he was covering for Police Chief Ryan Van Cleave who was on duty for the National Guard.

“I enjoy helping out,” Lundahl said.

The Jan. police report included two disturbance, two animal complaints, one traffic  complaint,  five written warnings, one nuisance vehicle, one sheriff assist, two citizen assists, three fix-it tickets, six verbal warnings, one funeral traffic along with 28 school traffic and 405 building checks.