By Frank Lewis
The Scioto County Commissioners and the management at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport at Minford (Minford Airport) hope that with the growth that could possibly accompany the construction of the Portsmouth Bypass, some work can be done to improve the facilities and attract corporations that could locate in that area.
“It’s the hope of the County Commissioners, with the state project of the bypass going in that will bring more economic vitality to the county in the form of big business and industry,” Phil Lajoye, manager at the airport, said. “So the (Southern Ohio) Port Authority is working diligently on bringing business to the (U.S.) 52 area around Wheelersburg where there’s two rails, a river and a major gas line which will basically be at the end of the bypass.”
Lajoye talked to the Daily Times but gave credit for plans at the airport to the Scioto County Commissioners thinking ahead in planning for economic growth
Lajoye said, when an industry looks at an area in which to locate they think about logistics and shipping. He said no one wants to run trucks over Rosemount Hill, so, with the addition of the bypass and a total of seven interchanges, one of which, a dual interchange directly at the Minford Airport, it could provide the facilities needed to solve those problems.
“There will be a traffic light and when you come off at that traffic light you’ll be standing right down Barklow Road and looking at the Minford Airport about 200 yards away,” Lajoye said. “We’re trying to negotiate with the state and with the contractor to get some free dirt off of the bypass project to lengthen the runway safety areas at the end of the runways and also to fill in some spots, compact some dirt for some new hangars.”
He said the airport currently has smaller hangars and it is their hope to construct hangars that are the next size up that can accommodate twin-engine planes.
“Those are your big industry owners,” Lajoye said. “Those guys don’t drive all over the country, they fly to their various places. When they do they want an airport that has a full-time fixed-base operator and in our case that would be Mike Chasteen. He services planes; he has employees to pump fuel, and they want a nice modern hangar that’s big enough to house their plane or their jet.”
The airport is the recipient of rent payments from planes utilizing the hangars.
“If we can accommodate those people it is the thinking of the County Commissioners that it will bring economic vitality eventually to Scioto County,” Lajoye said.
Lajoye said mainly small business and recreation planes utilize that facility.
‘Some of the hospitals occasionally have some jet traffic that comes in an out,” Lajoye said. “And we have the Skyline Restaurant, a nice quaint mom and pop restaurant and recently we have added additional parking which is working out very well. It’s closer to the front door. It’s the big center area, the circle drive. We filled that in and graveled it and that seems to be working real well.”
The Commissioners believe airport is in a unique position and a lot of people in county government and on the state level who are working with them to try to bring the plans to fruition.
“The more we get people on board for this I believe we can realize some day,” Lajoye said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.