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Northampton County Council hears new plan to save Braden Airpark

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 05 2013 11:02:47 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 11:06:44 PM CDT
FORKS TWP., Pa. -

A plan to save Braden Airpark surfaced Thursday in the form of a plan that would see Northampton County buy the Forks Township airfield through a 30-year, $3.5 million bond from the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.

The airport authority that oversees Braden has recommended the airport be closed because of its poor financial condition.

Besides keeping the airport operating, the new proposal said the airport can be used as a park and a recreational facility, maintaining open space.

County Executive John Stoffa received the proposal Wednesday from the law offices of Fox, Oldt & Brown.

The two-page letter from the firm said “ideally, our Save Braden Airpark Initiative Group would like to have Northampton County Council pass a resolution authorizing county representatives to immediately open discussions with Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority to explore and pursue all options for maintaining and preserving Braden Airpark, including a potential purchase by Northampton County.” The property consists of 88 acres.

Attached to the letter was a proposal to form an airport authority to buy and operate Braden Airpark.

The proposal states the county would not be responsible for the ownership and management of the airpark, saying those duties and responsibilities would fall on the shoulders of a five-member board of governors on the Northampton County Airport Authority.

According to the proposal, Vern Moyer, the previous operator at the airport, reported revenues of slightly more than $1.1 million in 2012, his last year of operation at the airport.

Moyer has since relocated his operations to Mount Pocono Airport.

Since Moyer’s departure, the proposal states, the airport has been operating with a one-or-two man skeleton crew that has been selling and pumping fuel and losing about $5,000 a month in the process.

In the near term, the proposal asks the county to pump $5,000 per month or more for at least five months.

One of the main reasons cited for closing the airport is the estimated

$2.6 million in renovations the airport needs.

The proposal to keep the airport open was signed by attorney Robert C. Brown, Michael Rosenfeld, president of the Lehigh Valley General Aviation Association, Ric Carhart, president EAA Chapter 70, Erik Chuss and Floyd Robert Kutzler.