Following is a Letter to the Editor published in The Tipton Conservative, March 2013. In light of continued discussions on this matter I wanted to share this once again, to remind the public that farm families of rural Tipton are under threat of having their land taken by eminent domain. While the ultimate influence that we will have in the decision making process is yet to be seen, we have stood in opposition all along.
Letter to the Editor March 11, 2013
I’d like to take a moment to address the proposed expansion of Tipton’s Mathews Memorial Airport. This is a matter that, quite literally, hits very close to home. You see, current plans call for the airport runway to be extended directly through the property on which I live, bringing it absurdly close to my backyard. My family has been associated with this land for thirty years, and we’ve owned and resided on adjacent properties now going on five generations. We are opposed to this project and the disruption it would bring to our way of life. We face loss of cropland and with it income, and the threat of cattle being spooked by low flying aircraft. Light and noise pollution will also increase with an expanded airstrip, depriving us the aesthetic values of country life. For these and other reasons we take issue with this proposal, as do many of our neighbors who would be equally affected.
Unfortunately, however, in what would amount to a land grab our opinions and our livelihoods might get little consideration. Although we have voiced our opposition on several occasions, and were joined by many at last week’s public hearing who spoke out against airport expansion; there are also interests intent on seeing this project through. For that reason I feel it imperative that residents of Tipton take notice of what is going on.
Drawn by the allure of federal funding, the City has engaged in an investigative analysis concerning airport improvements. What has been determined is that eligibility for this funding would require runway restructuring and expansion. What has not been determined is how this, and the tax payer money needed to foot Tipton’s portion of the bill, will benefit local residents. It is said that the City would be obligated to cover ten percent of total project cost, which has been speculated to run anywhere from eight to twenty million dollars; depending on who you choose to believe. Groundbreaking might not begin for several years so these projections would likely increase with inflation, and there is no guarantee that federal spending cuts wouldn’t eliminate funding halfway through. There is also no evidence that this expansion will attract new business to our community, or with the exception of a select few airport users, benefit Tipton residents in any way. It seems an unflattering proposal with so much to lose and very little to gain.
Furthermore, as of last week’s meeting there seemed to be uncertainty as to how this project could be approved. It wasn’t clear if the City Council could pass such measures alone or if it would go to a public vote. For that reason, I urge all residents of Tipton to stand up and speak your mind on this issue. Talk to your neighbors, your Councilperson, Mayor Kepford; and let them know that there are better ways to spend your tax dollars. Street repairs, recreational opportunities, further investments in downtown and a multitude of other options exist that would improve the quality of life for all who live here. With such in mind, it would be irresponsible to focus instead on a project that serves only a handful of individuals.
These airport proposals seem unnecessary and unwanted. Please don’t let them slip by unnoticed.
A new Facebook page has been created to help keep Tipton residents informed on developments with this proposal, and to join in voicing concerns over the airport expansion. Please give it a “LIKE” by clicking this link- Tipton Against Airport Expansion Facebook Page