Lee's Summit Economic Development Council Board of Directors Endorse Airport Expansion
At a Board of Directors meeting held on September 2, the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC) Board members unanimously voted in favor of a Resolution of Support for the Implementation of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport Master Plan and the Ratification of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport Business Plan.
The Airport Business Plan which recommends expansion of the runway to 5300 feet to increase revenues and business development will be discussed at a City Council work session on September 10 at 5:30 p.m. The full LSEDC Resolution included below.
“The mission of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council is to attract and retain business and investment in Lee’s Summit,” says George Pagels, M.D., 2009 – 2010 Chairman of LSEDC. “In economic development, airports are generally regarded as a tool in the attraction and retention of investment to a community. Expanding the Lee’s Summit airport is in line with LSEDC’s four focal points of work, which are: community product improvement, business expansion and retention, targeted industry attraction and community image enhancement.”
Additionally, LSEDC Board members recognized that portions of the Lee’s Summit 360° - Charting the Course Strategic Planning Initiative, a Lee’s Summit citizen-driven process, explicitly addresses the airport’s North/South runway expansion by 1300 feet to 5300 feet to help it attract corporate jets whose fuel sales help the airport to increase revenues, to increase safety, to reduce noise and to encourage economic development
Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council
Resolution of Support for the Implementation of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport
Master Plan and the Ratification of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport Business Plan
WHEREAS, the mission of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council is to attract and retain investment in Lee’s Summit; and
WHEREAS, the four focal points of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s program of work are: community product improvement, business expansion and retention, targeted industry attraction and community image enhancement; and
WHEREAS, an airport is regarded as asset and a tool in the attraction and retention of investment to a community and therefore complementary to Lee’s Summit’s Economic Development Council’s four focal points of work; and
WHEREAS, in 2009 portions of the Lee’s Summit 360° - Charting the Course Planning Initiative, a Lee’s Summit citizen-driven process, explicitly addresses the airport’s North/South runway expansion by 1,300 feet to 5,300 feet to help it attract corporate jets whose fuel sales help the airport to increase revenues, to increase safety, to reduce noise and to encourage economic development; and
WHEREAS, in 2008 the Lee’s Summit City Council commissioned Clough Harbor & Associates LLP and R.A. Wiedemann & Associates , Inc (consultants) to prepare an Airport Business Plan to assess the potential means to improve the Airport’s financial performance, economic development and operation through the evaluation of potential development and optimal operations associated with the implementation of the existing Airport Master Plan; and
WHEREAS, in June 2008 the consultants recommended the extension of the runway to 5,300 feet as the optimum feasible approach to ensure the long-term financial feasibility of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport; and
WHEREAS, the Lee’s Summit Finance & Personnel Committee received the draft Airport Business Plan and decided to forward it to the full City Council for review prior to any further public discussion concerning the Airport Business Plan’s content; and
Whereas, in the following months the Lee’s Summit City Council asked the consultant to undertake additional work supplementary to the 2008 report’s findings and recommendations to examine alternatives to the business plan recommendation of runway extension. The additional scope included the:
a. Feasibility of relocating then closing the airport
b. Identification of issues and potential benefits to close the airport and to develop the property for office and industrial use.
c. Assessment of the community value of Airport
WHEREAS, nearly $900,000 of federal and state and local money has been spent to address alternatives dealing with the airport’s viability
WHEREAS, the ‘draft’ Airport Business Plan, dated June, 2008 and subsequent consultant and research completed in the summer of 2009 provides answers the above questions, specifically:
1. Relocating then closing the airport is not feasible for reasons summarized below:
a. There is no suitable site within Lee’s Summit or the region
b. The cost of relocating the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, assuming FAA provides its approval, would cost the city approximately $161,000,000.00.
c. There is limited justification for relocation and closure; therefore, MoDOT or FAA would not provide approval
d. Hence, such a relocation or reconstruction effort would not be eligible to receive state and federal funding
2. Closing the airport and using the land for office and commercial development and associated tax revenues is not feasible for several reasons which are summarized below:
a. The FAA has never approved an airport closure under such circumstances.
b. The city would be required to repay tens of millions of dollars of grants received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and associated revenues generated.
c. Aviation organizations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) would be compelled to file suits and claims against the city and lobby the FAA to impose the maximum fines possible as has been accomplished successfully in the past.
d. The City Council should expect claims of civil damages from airport users, tenants, individuals, companies.
e. There is limited annual market demand (50 acres per year on average in eastern Jackson County) to justify an upfront city expenditure of general funds to close the airport, pay back the federal government and install infrastructure to make the abandoned property ready for the market.
3. The annual direct and indirect economic impact of the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport includes:
a. The creation of 75 full time jobs and $10,741,200.00 of annual economic activity;
b. Contributing to the national air transportation system, stimulation of business and
c. Serving as a base for aero-medical evacuation or flight services for life-saving functions; and
d. Serving as a business attraction and retention asset
4. That the recommendation of the June 2008 Master plan to expand the runway to 5,300 feet remains as the most effective expenditure of funds to help the airport achieve its revenue, community and economic development potential.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEE’S SUMMIT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
1. That the Mayor and City Council have had exhaustive information from the consultants and months of discussion to vote to ratify the Airport Business Plan, dated June 2008, which calls for the runway to extend to 5,300 feet as the best alternative for the airport to break even in the future.
2. That there are funds currently in the airport construction funds which can be used as local match to attract the federal money which will pay for the runway expansion costs.
3. That the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council Board of Directors strongly believes that the improvements recommended in the Lee’s Summit Municipal Business Plan will not require any tax increase to accomplish.
4. That with the advice of consultants, the City Council has received, reviewed and discussed all the necessary information to make an informed decision rather than asking the voters to do so.
5. That the Lee’s Summit City Council ratify the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport Business Plan dated June, 2008 and amend the current Airport Capital Improvement Plan and Master Plan to redirect capital improvement funds to extend to allow for the airport runway expansion and associated improvements contained within the Airport Business Plan.
Dr. G.A. Pagels, MD
2009 Chair of the Board
Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council