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Phone survey will provide feedback about airport

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By Laura Hagan

Though some residents are vocal about their support or opposition of building an airport in Oldham County, residents researching the possibility of one will fund a survey to gauge residents’ opinions.At a meeting Aug. 13, members of the Oldham County Airport Board discussed the ongoing need for public information surrounding the proposed airport, and chairman Jonathan Westbrook said he and Emily Liu, assistant director of planning and zoning, have looked at two firms that could conduct a telephone survey.Members of an opposition group – No Oldham Airport – were in attendance at the meeting.Board member Alex Babey said the board has seen a lot of information both for and against the airport.“We need to find a neutral party to give us their opinion,” Babey said.The board debated whether to do the survey before or after the study the board also plans to do.Last month, the board begin looking at conducting a study that will look at three things in relation to the airport.Studies like this are usually done once an airport site is chosen, but the board plans to do it before a site is chosen. The study will look at the economic impact of an airport, what effect it would have on property values and the ongoing cost of having an airport in the county.The final responses from groups asked to conduct the study should be presented at the next airport board meeting.Board member Bob Sargis said he views the survey is a piece of the study.“We’re charged with finding out if the airport is right for the community,” Sargis said. “Does the community want it? Will it make money? Will it enhance economicdevelopment?”Sargis also encouraged using “good questions” on the survey. He said the question can’t just be, “Do you want an airport or not?”Board member Dan Skeeters said he feels the survey would be best post-study.“You can’t form good judgment without the facts,” Skeeters said.The ultimate decision is made by members of fiscal court. The airport board will provide an update at the Sept. 16 fiscal court meeting.Westbrook said he thinks Oldham County has just one shot at bringing an airport to the area.He said it has to be determined if the time is right, and if it is not, maybe the county can come back to it in the future. He said that decision will be made by the time the board makes their presentation to the fiscal court.Members voted 4-1 to go ahead with the survey, with Skeeters dissenting.Westbrook said a small committee should be formed to work on the survey, on which Sargis and Babey volunteered to serve.Liu will look at companies to provide the survey and hopes to present the possibilities at the next airport board meeting – 4:30 p.m. Sept. 3 in the fiscal court courtroom. The board hopes to have the results of that survey by their October meeting.

E-mail us about this story at: lhagan@oldhamera.com.