Airport seeks local donations for tower

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Tuesday discussed an upcoming request to area communities for funding of the air traffic control tower.

“We are moving along the path Sen. (Joe) Manchin, D-W.Va., recommended in keeping the tower open,” said airport manager Terry Moore. “If the tower is allowed to close in June, we lose it forever and we don’t want that.”

Moore and members of the Wood County Airport Authority, the managing arm of the airport, attended a Parkersburg City Council Finance Committee meeting as a precursor to a request for funds from the full city council. Moore said he plans to meet with city councils in Vienna, Williamstown and Belpre and possibly Marietta in search of donations.

It is unknown how much money airport officials will seek as Moore does not know how much it will cost to operate the tower for three-and-a-half months, from the time the Federal Aviation Administration ceases funding in June to October, the start of a new federal fiscal when funds may be restored. The cuts are part of the sequestration cuts to control spending and reduce the federal debt.

Moore said he is expecting the cost to keep the tower staffed and running from June 15 through September to be between $60,000 and $95,000.

“I have talked to other airports who are making the same plans we are and have spoken with tower contract companies and have received quotes between those numbers,” Moore said. “So I could be asking for anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000 from Parkersburg and other cities.”