Will Board launches airport committee
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com November 7, 2013 9:32PM
Updated: December 9, 2013 11:09AM
The Will County Board’s new airport committee met for the first time Thursday and elected Don Moran, a Romeoville Democrat, as chairman.
Moran, a business representative for Sheet Metal Workers Local 265, was elected to the board in November 2012. Lee Ann Goodson (R-Plainfield) will serve as vice chair. She has been on the board since 2002 and is county government coordinator for House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).
The committee plans to meet at 8:30 a.m. on the first Thursday of the month when there is business to handle regarding the proposed South Suburban Airport near Peotone.
Moran said the committee would serve as a clearinghouse for airport information and would act as a liaison between the Illinois Department of Transportation, the county board and eastern Will County officials and residents.
“I’m very excited about it. I think it’s going to be a good thing for the residents and the county,” Goodson said of the committee.
She said she expects the committee to get “firsthand information, not second-hand information” on airport legislation and planning from the state.
Committee members plan to work in collaboration with the county board’s legislative committee and the county executive’s office as IDOT proceeds with creating a public-private partnership to build the airport.
Four representatives from eastern Will County who attended the inaugural committee meeting said they have had varying degrees of communication with the county on the airport project over the years. But they said they were willing to work with the new committee.
“We want to approach this in a team effort,” Beecher Administrator Bob Barber said.
Also in attendance were Beecher Mayor Greg Szymanski, Monee Administrator David Wallace and Crete Administrator Tom Durkin.
Barber said local municipal officials have a lot of lingering questions about the passage this summer of Senate Bill 20, which allows the airport to be controlled by IDOT and built through a public-private partnership. The bill’s swift passage took a lot of local officials by surprise.
Committee member Judy Ogalla, R-Monee, who also is vice president of Shut This Airport Nightmare Down, a citizens group against the airport, said the committee should explore what would happen to the land being purchased by the state for the airport if no private partner comes forward to build it.
Ogalla noted that the state recently expanded the inaugural airport footprint from 4,200 acres to 5,200 acres with little notice to newly affected residents who now live in the path of the airport.
“That’s an issue, that’s a real big issue out there,” she said.