Kent State opens discussion for new airport master plan

Grace Murray

Reconsidering the recommendation to close the Kent State University Airport and move operations to a new facility, Kent State officials opened discussion to the community in its first public meeting to create a new master plan for the airport.

“A master plan is a roadmap for the vision of an airport,” said Bill Dunn, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s vice president of airport advocacy. “It is a living document that forecasts what the demands are going to be in the future, such as the need for new buildings and new expenses.”

Why create a new master plan

The following is information gathered from the Kent State University Airport Master Plan website, citing why a new master plan is needed.

• Kent State officials are reconsidering closing the airport because they envision a strong future for the airport and because the FAA felt decommissioning the airport would dispute earlier assurances that the airport would remain open and in public use.

• A FAA-approved master plan is a requirement to receive federal funding, which the university needs because the facilities are more than 80 years old.

• The FAA issued new design standards that affect the 2006 master plan, such as a new geometric layout and engineering requirements for runways and taxiways.

Kent State’s new master plan addresses the decommission of the airport proposed in the 2006 master plan, as well as the need for federal funding and the Federal Aviation Association’s updated design standards, according to the Kent State University Master Plan website. These changes are meant to provide a review of the airport’s needs and resources.

The purpose of the March 4 meeting was to introduce community members to the project and process of creating a new master plan, said project manager Aileen Meyer.

“Community engagement is important to ensure that the airport continues to meet the needs of the community,” Meyer said in an email interview. “And that issues and concerns are identified and considered in the planning process.”

Citizens in attendance cited safety, noise and flight paths as their major concerns, Meyer said, all of which will be considered throughout the planning process.

According to the Kent State University Airport Master Plan website, the meeting was a part of the first phase to complete the plan, which will include a record of existing issues, needs and conditions. The completion of this phase is set for the end of spring 2013.

The second phase, to be completed in fall 2013, will focus on the development and evaluation of alternatives, one of which will be selected by summer 2014 in phase three, according to the Kent State University Airport Master Plan Website.

“The plan is a long-term visionary statement, which says what the future will hold,” said Dunn, “and [AOPA] knows Kent is working on a good plan.”

For more information on the updated master plan, visit

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].