SDFFri 4:36 AM EST
Today at its regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA), expressing its serious concern about operational conditions at Bowman Field, passed a resolution approving a contingency plan to complete the Bowman Field Airport Area Safety Program without federal funds IF the FAA does not meet its most recent planning study timeline. The current timeline, the fifth issued in the last 12 months, is April 22 through July 14.
LRAA first announced the Bowman Area Safety Program in December 2011 to protect the airspace needed for runway approaches to Bowman Field and to preserve the airfield’s operating capabilities with pre-existing levels of safety. Since then, a series of delays in the process required to obtain federal funding for the Program has emerged. With those delays, LRAA estimates that completing the Program using FAA funding will take at least two more years, during which time the safety, efficiency, viability and usability of Bowman Field will continue to deteriorate. “During these years of delays, trees continue to grow further into protected airspace,” said Jim Welch, chairman of the LRAA Board of Directors.
Welch also said that the board is aware that most federal planning requirements are substantially complete and that, in fact, the public review has been far in excess of what would normally be expected for a project of this magnitude. “The board feels it must be prepared to fulfill its obligations as quickly as possible,” he said. The resolution keeps in place program components for the impacted neighborhood areas. These areas are, in fact, smaller than when the program was announced in 2011. The program components include:
• Purchasing avigation easements over necessary properties to gain airspace protection. Offers will be based on market value appraisals conducted by licensed and certified property appraisers.
• Assessing trees (by a certified arborist) as to whether they can be trimmed or should be removed.
• Providing two low-canopy replacement trees for every tree removed, from a list compiled by a certified arborist for use in this climate.
• Providing a re-landscaping allowance of up to $2,500 over and above the cost of replacement trees if the tree is removed from a landscaped area.
• Providing a one- year warranty for new landscaping and a two-year warranty for replacement trees.
• Paying for tree trimming and/or removal, stump removal and yard restoration.