Letter to the Editor
Economics vs. vision
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Last week marked the anniversary of Lindbergh making the first solo flight from America to Europe, and Earhart, inspired by Lindbergh, making the first solo flight for a woman across the Atlantic. Both feats were wildly celebrated due to both the inherent risk in the acts and the implication for inter-continental flight. The future economic benefit of the flights far exceeded the actual cost of doing so, but there was no guarantee.
Last month the Marble Hill City Council voted to close the airport, which is named in honor of Ira Biffel, who taught Lindbergh how to fly. From a short sighted economic point of view the council's decision to do so is well founded. While the airport was once bustling with activity, a source of revenue for the city, and the place where many learned to fly -- in recent years there have been very few planes arriving and departing and the airport has become an expense.
It's always a mystery how some small airports are busy and others are not. Nearby Fredericktown and Dexter airports are busy places hopping with activity. Those airports have a hard surfaced runway, fuel, and hangar space. Would it make sense for the Marble Hill airport to remain open if it was possible for the airport to be drastically improved, at no expense to the city? I believe an improved airport would drastically increase airport activity and possibly do more to attract commerce, but there's no guarantee.
STAN CRADER, Marble Hill