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Fate of local airport uncertain

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 16 2014 05:06:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2014 06:10:33 PM CDT

The clock is ticking and the fate of a Northampton County airport hangs in the balance.

FORKS TWP., Pa. -

The clock is ticking and the fate of a Northampton County airport hangs in the balance.

The deadline to bid on leasing Braden Airpark in Forks Township expires Thursday, and so far there hasn't been much interest.

The bidding window opened last month, and up until late Tuesday night, there were no bids.

"We would have hoped there would be more broad interest, but we understand given some of the the challenges of the airport, with capital investments necessary, we understand that might limit the marketability of the field," said Charles Everett, executive director of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority.

The board currently has only one bid to review, following a last-minute proposal submitted by Easton Aviation, LLC.

But Michael Rosenfeld with the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association said it's a solid bid.

"What we have now is a proposal that was sent in by what I would call a dream team," Rosenfeld said.

Easton Aviation proposes putting in $400,000 up front in capital improvements.

Other plans include putting in a restaurant, and flight school to raise profits.

"Just simply fixing hangar doors, activating the self-fueling system that exists, will bring in more traffic. These aren't people who are going to sit around the coffee table and drink coffee and wait for airplanes to come. They are going to actively participate," Rosenfeld said.

Starting Thursday, the airport authority will open up the property for sale.

"When it comes to selling, is pretty much an open canvas in terms of what we are looking for," Everett said.

If the property is sold, it would likely need to be rezoned if it no longer operates as an airport.

The board is reviewing this lease proposal and plans on discussing it at a meeting Thursday morning.

A final decision on whether to lease, sell, or close the airport will be made in October.