Morgantown City Council Talks Improvements Towards Morgantown Municipal Airport

25 Sep

On September 19, Morgantown City Council held their bimonthly public meeting to discuss issues and potential opportunities involving Morgantown. One heavy issue that was discussed was the runway expansion of the Morgantown Municipal Airport (MMA). For the past few years, MMA has been in the works of renting space for runways, but the project opportunities haven’t been seized.

One obvious benefit towards this plan is that bigger planes/jets can enter and leave the city. “757′s would be able to land on the runway,” said Morgantown City Manager, Paul Brake.

Although MMA has more property acres (589 acres) compared to North Central West Virginia Airport located in Clarksburg (434 acres), Clarksburg has more asphalt surface (2377 x 46m) than MMA (1585 x 46m), according to GlobalAir.

One concerned Morgantown citizen, James Guiliani, believes the city has been “bypassing opportunities”. “What are you (the council) doing with the airport?! Is it important to us?! No one is talking about it anymore! Years ago, we had 4 acres for $4 million dollars and nothing has been done,” exclaimed Guiliani. Later on, he claimed that WVU is the bigger priority and roads have become more important than the airport.

Even MMA having a smaller runaway disadvantage, MMA is the highest in total operations for the state of West Virginia, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

After Guiliani stormed off, Brake explained that there are being measures taken to resolve the runway task:

- The runway will extend about 1,400 feet (5,200 to 6,601 ft).

- Three new t-hangars are being constructed currently.

- T-hangar 1 is almost finished and the other two t-hangars will be worked immediately.

Brake went on to say that the hangars will be opening in the fall.

“There are ecosystem considerations we have to take,” said Brake. One big ecosystem consideration is big planes flying over a heavy populated territory.

Another benefit towards the extension is WVU Athletes will be able to fly in and out of the city to far away games. The business aspect of travel access would greatly improve and the traveling process will be smoother.

After the meeting adjourned, I personally believe that these improvements will benefit the airport. Yes, the demands seem to be long overdue, but I don’t think the city has deliberately ignored the situation. Good things take time. Guiliani sounded very bitter and angry towards the council, which made his arguments distasteful. Also, I feel the students who don’t live in West Virginia would greatly appreciate these new projects towards the airport. Driving to Pittsburgh can be a bother, especially those long trips in the car. I am from West Virginia. So, if there’s anyway I can drive to Morgantown to easily fly in/out instead of driving to the busy city of Pittsburgh, I’ll be very content.

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