Fri, May 14, 2004
Field Would Be Plowed Under
It wasn't unexpected. For the past
several years, Tampa Bay Executive Airport (FL) has been in
trouble. But now, its owner says the airport will close October
1st. He's already talking with buyers about what will happen
"We do have some folks who are genuinely interested in the
property," said owner Lew Friedland in an interview with the St.
Petersburg Times. But, he said, "nobody's talking about building
another airport. Everybody knew it was going to close."
Tampa Bay Executive is home to about 100 general aviation
aircraft, as well as Bayflight, a medical helicopter service.
"It's just sad to see an airport go," said Charles Brammer,
owner of the North Tampa Aeropark in Wesley Chapel (FL). He's
expanding his hangar space, where many of the 89 new units will
house refugees from Tampa Bay Executive.
Tuesday, Pasco County Commissioner Pete Altman reportedly
suggested creating a "citizens' task force" to determine what
impact the closure will have -- especially in Bayflight's case.
Altman wants the county to consider building another airport to
replace Tampa Bay Executive, a proposal supported by at least one
other commission member.
But the pressure to develop land now occupied by Tampa Bay
Executive is tremendous. Land goes for more than $40,000 an acre in
that area. The 300 acres of airport property could easily go for
$12 million, according to County Commissioner Steve Simon.
"While I feel for the private plane owner ... I don't think the
county's responsibility is to provide a facility for that," he
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