John Dugdale owns property that would be affected if the secondary site is chosen and bases his opposition to the relocation on how it would negatively affect area residents. He said in the primary site, there are 117 persons impacted by the airport alone. That number is larger if the associated industrial zone is included.
“It’s a good bit more land and a good bit more streets and houses that are involved,” he said.
He said he does not know the exact number of people affected by the secondary site but he believes it would be larger due to the larger amount of land involved.
He questioned the need for the airport and its associated industrial zones to include that much land, saying other airports in the region take up less land.
He said the original Griffin-Spalding County Airport was built in an area without houses and people who moved there moved there knowing there was an airport present. He said the people who moved to the areas that would be affected by the relocated airport moved there seeking the quiet, country life, something that would be destroyed by the presence of an airport.
Griffin Mayor Dick Morrow said the proposed industrial site is optional and he does not think the federal government will pay for it. As far as the larger size goes, airports built in more recent times need greater buffers of land than airports built years ago.
“The noise footprint and runway protection zones eat up quite a bit of property at the end of the runway,” he said.
He said he could not disagree with many of Dugdale’s arguments. He said the presence of property owners in and around the existing airport shows the importance of buying up additional land so the airport does not become “landlocked” in the future.
He said he respects the concerns the airport opponents have, but there are many people in the area who have told him they would gladly sell their property. He said the areas around the proposed airport sites are high-unemployment and high-poverty areas.
“The bottom line of all this is we need jobs for our citizens,” he said. Airports bring jobs and with unemployment being 12 percent in Spalding County, the jobs are necessary, he said.