What you probably didn’t know about the Atchison airport expansion

What you probably didn’t know about the Atchison airport expansion

It’s like getting picked out of the crowd on the Price is Right. All those people in the audience, ready to take their shot at winning big...all they have to do is walk on stage with Bob Barker. I wonder, did anyone ever decline? I doubt it...who could turn down a chance to go home $10,000 richer?

There’s good news. Bob Barker picked Atchison.

Well, not literally. With the new plan for the airport expansion, we’re getting an opportunity that would be quite embarrassing not to take advantage of. The reward didn’t start out so sweet...there was a bit of cost involved at first. But not now! Let me explain.

The Atchison airport expansion is all reward and no risk.

Here’s the quick rundown of the airport expansion project:

  • The airport runway is too short to be much good any more, and is not in compliance with FAA standards. The runway needs extended in order to let the bigger planes land. There’s even a waiting list of planes ready to rent hangar spaces once the airport gets this upgrade.
  • All the money for the project is coming from federal grants and donations. No city tax dollars!
  • The grant dollars cannot be used for any other city or county project in Atchison—but some other Kansas community will get the money if we don’t take it!
  • All it takes is the vote from the city commissioners to approve the project. So simple!

Three big concerns have three big solutions

Two years ago, the previous City Commission wasn’t interested in an expansion plan for the Airport for some very good reasons. Wisely, they wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to end up hurting Atchison in the long run. Remember Extreme Home Makeover? Some contestants forgot to plan for the taxes on their huge, new homes. We didn’t want that to happen here!

In order to address the concerns, a group of Atchisonian visionaries began to work on a solution that committed to three important guidelines:

  • NO city tax dollars will be used—the FAA is covering 90% of the cost, and the remaining 10% is being funded through donations.
  • NO eminent domain will be used—all land that is needed is being purchased from a willing citizen.
  • Long term solution for maintenance—FAA annual funding of $150,000 can be applied toward maintenance instead of toward compliance issues.

Show me the money

Now, we all know most decisions boil down to the $$$. Let’s talk money.

  • Atchison can have an airport that isn’t going to cost the City anything. (no money)
  • The Federal grant money is going to go to another Kansas community if we don’t take it. (lost money)
  • There’s a waiting list of planes that want to rent hangar space as soon as it’s available. (more money)
  • Once the airport is brought up to FAA standards, the $150K we get annually from them can go towards maintenance instead of compliance issues. (better money)
  • Larger runway = larger planes, which means more fuel sold. (more money)
  • Wait...we’ll lose tax money on the farmland-turned-airport! (less money)
    Yes. About $2,181.24 a year. But...the additional sales tax will double that! So...MORE MONEY!

The airport expansion is a no-brainer now. Not only will it increase sales tax, it will create jobs, grow businesses, and attract new ones. How do you know, you might ask? Well, I don’t. But I sure as heck don’t want to embarrass myself and say no to the chance to win big!

Let’s let our commissioners know what we want.  

Should the City support the airport expansion?
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