Thu, Jun 07, 2012
Suburban Field Would Have Been Atlanta Reliever
The Gwinnett County, GA, Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously rejected a proposal to bring commercial service to Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia (KLZU). The board also voted to withdraw the preliminary application to the FAA to privatize the airport.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that over 300 people attended the meeting, and most cheered the board's votes. Larry Yates, vice president of Lawrenceville's Rivershyre Homeowners Association said “The citizens of Gwinnett have been heard over the clatter of coin.” New York-based Propeller Investments had hoped to begin flights from Lawrenceville to New York, Chicago and other destinations. Company officials said the firm had spent over $2 million on a county proposal process they believe was unfair. Managing director Brett Smith told commissioners “You wasted a lot of people’s money.” The debate, often contentious, had been raging for over two years over the fate of the airport.
Propeller Investments had lobbied to bring up to 20 daily passenger flights to Briscoe Field. Plans included building 10 gates and extending the airport's 6,000 ft runway. The firm had enlisted the help of Aeroports de Paris, which operates Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and two dozen other facilities worldwide to operate Briscoe. Propeller also guaranteed Gwinnett County at least half a million dollars in revenue annually.
In the end, a staff review found that Propeller's proposal was lacking critical financial information and other important details. While the county commissioners never endorsed Propeller's plans, they did receive preliminary approval from the FAA to sell or lease the field in 2010. Tuesday’s vote marked the conclusion of Gwinnett’s latest debate over the fate of Briscoe Field.
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