Friday, July 3, 2009

Lakewood Panel Takes Control Of Airport

The Township Committee took control of Lakewood Airport on Thursday, dissolving the quasi-independent authority that managed it.The committee officially began pursuing the airport in January. Mayor Robert W. Singer has said a primary reason was to expedite efforts to develop some 60 acres of airport property that would supposedly make the 64-year-old aviation hub self-sustaining. The township currently must use tax dollars to match 5 percent of whatever government grants the airport receives. It now will use its existing contracted professionals to run the airport. "We did this because, to be frank, we couldn't continue funding it," Singer said. "I see it actually as a way to save the airport." Lakewood Airport Authority Chairman Rich Orne saw it differently. "I am diametrically opposed to their takeover," said the retired Air Force flying crew chief. "They are not in the aviation business." He added, "If they are such wizards in development, then why is the Cedar Bridge project still not off the ground and the industrial park is half full?" The authority's executive director and only paid official, Bert Albert, was more accepting. "We have made every effort to be self-sustaining," he said. "I hope this situation works out. It will make my job much easier." It was unclear Thursday whether Albert still had a job. Zach Patberg APP.

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