BENTON — The Benton Municipal Airport could be on the move, according to the town’s mayor.
Benton Mayor Fred Kondritz says the city will form a committee to look at land elsewhere in Benton to free some up space along Interstate 57 where the airport currently sits.
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He said airport sits on potentially desirable land for development. If the city could find a way to move the airport, Kondritz hopes developers will come calling.
“It is very prime land now," he said, "but it would make it super prime with that being relocated."
The city owns the land where the airport is located, he said.
Airport Board Chairman Mike Wyant said the idea of moving the airport has been discussed previously — and it's something that's wise to explore.
“I don’t know how feasible it is,” Wyant said. “Economically, it could be out of the question.”
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One thing that could hinder the process for developers could be land subsidence, Wyant said. The airport has done maintenance in the past because of it.
He questions whether or not a developer would want to build there, but the benefits are worth looking into.
Wyant said the airport sees a bit amount of traffic from local attorneys using the federal court systems, local businesses and Rend Lake. He said the airport also has about five hangers available for rent.
Kondritz said there is nothing wrong with the airport and the city doesn’t want to get rid of it, it just wants to move it.
“It is just not as active as it was at one time,” he said.
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He said the sentiment seems to be that if a spot can be found, then a move can be made.
Kondritz said movement is happening just next to the airport. The Benton-West City Economic Development Corporation is developing land by bringing in the Blue Ridge Tractor Company, a large machine retail store.
“It would be a no-brainer to do what we are trying to do,” Kondritz said.