With no word yet from the Kansas Department of Transportation as to whether the county can sell the airport it owns southeast of Pleasanton, county commissioners discussed some possible avenues for selling or leasing the property on Monday. (Journal file photo)
MOUND CITY – On Monday, June 12, the Linn County Commissioners met with Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower about the county-owned airport.
Jessica Hightower said that she had not heard back yet from the legal department of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) about the legalities of the county selling the airport.
It had been discussed at previous meetings that since the county had received grant funding in 2019 for $200,000, that the county was obligated to keep the airport open for ten years until 2029 as a public access airport. KDOT was checking to see if there were any other options or if the county could pay back a portion of the grant money which would likely be $120,000.
Discussion was held about selling off land that adjoined the airport. County Counselor Gary Thompson suggested that the county might want to keep it with the airstrip until they could see if they had any potential buyers or someone who might want to least the airport.
Commission Chair Danny McCullough said that he did not want to put any more money into the airport.
Thompson said that it might be possible to lease the airport to a person or a fixed-based operator for a $1 and that person would be obligated to maintain the airport.
The county is paying tax on the airport because the land adjoining the airstrip’’ is leased as hay ground, and there are still lots that have been sold.
Commissioner Jason Hightower agreed that he did not want to spend any more money at the airport. He said he thought they should look into leasing it and selling adjoining property.
McCullough asked if the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights that had been purchased for the runway had been sold. It was learned after the county purchased the lights that they were not the correct type of lights.
Jessica Hightower said that the lights had not been sold.
She said she will prepare a request for proposal (RFP) to lease the airport. If the county puts in the contract for lease that the person or company has to keep the airport as public access, the county will not have to pay back the grant funds.