It has been, to borrow a line from The Beatles, a “long and winding road.”
It was a long road through 24 months of uncertainty and pain, including 14 months of negotiations to secure local control of what was the largest privately-owned airport in the world. As a result, our community has retained control of this economic development asset, and our future opportunities.
It was a winding road, understanding the complexity and magnitude of this amazing asset, in order to begin to reconfigure and restructure. What has resulted is strong working relationships with tenants and service providers, improvements to infrastructure, and a broader vision of how the Wilmington Air Park can serve our community, and our businesses, through diversification, flexibility, and collaboration.
It was a long and winding road, beginning operations of the Wilmington Air Park with a base of 700 employees, four businesses, and a few flights a week – during the most significant recession since the great depression.
Today, on-site employment has nearly doubled in eight years – and the number of businesses based here has tripled. The Wilmington Air Park is home to 12 businesses, and over 1,300 employees of those organizations. Over 350 flights occurred in 2017, and that number continues to increase.
It is a long (but not winding) road down the 10,701-foot runway that handled those flights. Just ask the LGSTX Services employees who paint the lines to specific and exacting standards!
As a result of this type of dedication, the Wilmington Air Park’s airport is certified by the FAA as a Part 139 Airport. That means our operations meet the same FAA standards as large commercial airports across the country.
The road has included investment of over $10 million in infrastructure-related costs at the Air Park. At least another $20 million has been invested in new facilities, improvements, and other assets. This investment came from Clinton County Port Authority revenue and leveraging those funds and opportunities to secure outside grant dollars and private investment. It has made a difference, at the Air Park, and for our tenants.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our extraordinary tenants: ATSG, AMES, LGSTX Services, CAM, ATI, ABX Air, JMCC, Global Flight Services, Santa Rosa Systems, Robert A. Schuerger Law Offices, AVI, and the Clinton County Port Authority. Their commitment, dedication, and collaboration has benefitted our journey down this road, and we’ve traveled much of it together.
Recognized as the Ohio Airport of the year in 2015, recognized as the home of the Ohio Airport Manager of the Year in 2017, and recognized most recently as the home of the Ohio Airport Business of the Year in 2018, the Wilmington Air Park is continuing along a long, and sometimes winding, road of success and growth.
For our tenants, our prospects, and our community.