To The Editor:
Few things are as black and white and read all over Franklin County as St. Clair and its airport. Many people consider an airport and economic development to be mutually desirable and inseparable.
I’ve been to Pompei, Italy, which has no airport! Schumaker property dates to 1934 in the St. Clair area. Four real estate parcels today have never been profitable the last 47 years like the airport. Center and North streets that abut Interstate 44 three to four blocks from Main Street in St. Clair are still gravel! That’s a dismal black reality. Economic development in the center of St. Clair should be No. 1.
The airport exists over 50 years dating back to the days of Belmont and Greenie Johnson and a wonderful manager, Fred Atkinson. When these pioneers departed, white slowly turned to black and the airport became a derelict due to very little maintenance.
People like Gilbert Hoffman (on the St. Clair School Board 39 years until April 1, 2012) and Judge Larry Davis (Union and St. Louis over 30 years) both maintained planes at the St. Clair Airport.
An economic solution would be for the FAA and/or MoDOT aviation to take over the airport on a county or regional basis. Buy it from the city of St. Clair to remove its debt load and perhaps enabling it to develop a centrally located recreation center with a pool, ice skating, track, weight room and cafe. Let’s do something white in St. Clair and read about it all.