Osage City Residents still waiting for answers on airport expansion project

An already hot topic issue, and it was over in the first ten minutes. The Osage City Council decided Tuesday night to not bring up the millions in Federal grant money to expand the airport.

Nicolette Schleisman takes us through the council’s quick decisions, and why they would not talk about it to the media.

First on the agenda for Osage City Council Tuesday night was an airport project. The discussion was about State grant money through the Kansas Department of Transportation. Many residents hoped the council would bring up the Federal gran money of 4 million dollars while talking about it. The council decided not to, and finished airport business in less than 10 minutes.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the project taken care of and be moving on with the project with the improvement,” said Joe Humerickhouse, Osage City Resident, former State Representative, and former Osage City Council member.

For several council meetings, the Osage City Council has opted to delay talking about a project that would expand the airport and make it more attractive to pilots and possibly other businesses.

“It’s discouraging. And it also feels like there’s been a lot of public interest raised at this point, and as it keeps being tabled and pushed back to later and later dates, that the public interest will wane,” said Osage City resident, Mike Handly.

Several council members have mentioned they are not for the expansion of the airport. They turned down requests for an on-camera interview Tuesday night. Councilman Duane Peroo told Kansas First News off camera that he is not sure if he is for or against the expansion, and believes it should go to the public for another vote. Another Councilman says they had all been told upon entering their terms, that they should not talk to media on any topic.

Osage City residents say the fact that their council members will not talk about this heated issue, is concerning.

“A person that’s elected by the citizens should be able to tell you how he’s going to vote on a project or any type of an issue and be able to stand up and be counted on how he is going to vote or has voted,” said Humerickhouse.

“It would be an excellent opportunity to explain your reasoning as a member of the city government,”  said Handly.

The council unanimously decided to accept the state grant agreements through K-DOT to fix the runway and hangar at the airport. Residents for the expansion say they are encouraged by the approval of these grants.

A F-A-A engineer will be attending the next council meeting on Tuesday, March 25th.

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