Craig Airport Runway Extension

October 9, 2013

CRAIG AIRPORT BANNER 1

WHY THE EXTENSION OF RUNWAY 14/32 AT CRAIG AIRPORT MUST HAPPEN NOW

 

Some of us who truly understand both the present and latent value of our airport seem to have succumbed to the collective idea that the proposed runway extension for JAXEX at Craig Airport is a dead issue. After several attempts in recent years, including an unproductive legal action, business owners and those who would otherwise prosper from an expanded, updated operation at KCRG (an extremely well-positioned and historical executive airport) are now languishing in a presumed defeat.

 

As a former airfield manager at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. – the home of Air Force One – I vehemently object to this inconceivable situation. I am well familiar with progressively-encroaching, residential areas with activist home-owners as my staff and I fielded the calls from those folks who were unhappy with both our operations and our presence. In the case of KADW, several residents in the area of Camp Springs, Maryland, wanted a pre-existing, nationally significant Air Force base to either go away or to seriously curtail its operations. Included in their presumptive and ill-advised demands was a cessation of fighter aircraft activity from the east side of the airfield. Those aircraft were proven to have a great value to the national defense effort when the events of 9-11 revealed the reason we kept armed aircraft immediately available in the National Capital Region; events which brought America to a new reality.

 

I do not, in this paper, intend to argue that our local executive airport here in Jacksonville has the same intrinsic value as the President’s airfield, but there are still some correlations that make the comparison most applicable and appropriate. Craig Airport is very important to all aspects of life in Jacksonville, and there is actually a very relevant national defense application if Craig’s primary runway is extended to 6,000 feet. That aspect, however, will not be part of the argument for the runway improvement. What is significant about our airport is simply the undeniable fact that it represents an economic capability far beyond its present contribution. It, also, represents a potential “reverser” of the creeping blight that currently afflicts the Arlington area. That a relative handful of moderately affluent homeowners who chose to purchase property proximal to a well-positioned and historically significant airport could hold the economic well-being of a city hostage to their personal whims is – quite frankly – a clear cut moral issue. Let me explain it this way.

 

As I have reviewed the past, stated objections to operations at Craig Airport and the proposal to lengthen the runway, I have found none – absolutely none – that offer a valid reason to preclude the necessary extension of the primary runway 14-32 at the field and neither is there a rational argument to curtail in any manner operations that would normally be appropriate at a significant executive airport of a major, progressive metropolitan area. None. Rather, to capitulate to persons who made intentional choices to locate their personal residence in the shadow of a significant economic entity and to then lobby through their representatives on the Jacksonville City Council to seriously inhibit the full function of that resource is a hubris of the first order; one that regrettably impacts the lives of those much less fortunate than the aggrieved naysayers. At a time when revenues are short and jobs are being slowly leeched from the surrounding community, failure to proactively address those circumstances for reasons of personal preference alone is immoral in the classic sense and those city officials complicit in that perfidy must have either their motives or their competence called to intense scrutiny. There is no valid reason to deny the lengthening of the runway or to limit in any way the full potential operation of this executive airport.

 

MARSHALL M. WOOD, Major, USAF (Ret.)

 

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