CENTERBURG — To say Bill See is ecstatic would be putting it mildly. See, owner of Chapman Memorial Airport near Centerburg, has come to an agreement with the Consolidated Electric Cooperative.
The agreement concerns a 740-foot section of back feeder electric lines that would have made his runway unusable.
Recently, See noticed some survey stakes along Dill Road, which borders the airport on the east. After making an inquiry, See found out Consolidated Electric was planning on erecting an electric line which would cross the flight path of planes taking off from the runway.
“In conversing with the state of Ohio and the Federal Aviation Administration,” See said, “these potential new power lines and poles above ground will exceed the safety standards for any active airport as set forth by the FAA’s required safety criteria. Basically, the power poles and lines will penetrate air space standards and become a hazard to the ingress and egress of the airport runways by piloted aircraft.”
See initially believed the power company was being less than responsive to his concerns when electric officials told him they had not made a final decision on how they were going to proceed. Eventually, serious discussion between the two parties took place, and this week those talks resulted in a solution that will keep See and his airport in business.
“I was contacted by [Consolidated Electric’s] attorney,” said See, “and they said they would bring a contract to me. They said they were willing to bury 740 feet of electric line, which is what the FAA specs are. Or they would bury however much the FAA requires to keep the airport open to the public.”
As part of the deal, See will make a contribution to the cost of burying the line.
“They asked for a contribution and I agreed to that,” he said. “It was worth it.”