Jurors study airport leases, rentals
By Paul Kedinger
LSN STAFF WRITER
CROWLEY – Members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury discussed lease options and rental proposals for LeGros Memorial Airport during committee meetings Tuesday night.
Perhaps the most novel proposal came from John Martin, a member of a local model airplane club.
Once a year, a national model aerobatic competition is held in Munice, Ind., he told jurors. The competition attracts between 100 and 150 pilots and over 100 spectators.
Martin proposed moving the contest from Indiana to Estherwood for three to four days in July 2010.
Martin, a professional pilot, offered to shoulder all the contest details and confirmed the Jury would be covered by liability insurance.
The members of the Airport Advisory Committee, which replaced the disbanded Airport
Commission appeared enthusiastic about the aerobatic competition and agreed to work with Martin on the planning.
James Hawthorne inquired about leasing hangar space at the parish airport for a startup business repairing old airplanes. He estimated the business might need a 10- to 15-year lease. Jurors offered to discuss lease arrangements.
Keith Henry asked about acquiring hay rights on airport property. He said he would plow up and re-seed the land for a new hay crop. Committee members welcomed Henry’s offer and recommended the full Jury negotiate a lease.
The Airport Advisory Commitee also reviewed an 86-page rental analysis of the leased property at the airport prepared by The Neon Company, Inc. of New Iberia.
The appraisal estimated the market value, leased fee interest and potential for the airport hangars and land.
Uppermost on the jurors’ mind was the fact that some of the lease holders pay no rent for the airport property and minimal fees for hangar space. In one case, a lease is for the hangar site only, where the tenant built the hangar in exchange for the use of the hangar for 30 years.
Some of the leases amounted to three cents per square foot. Comparing LeGros Airport with same-size area airports, the apprasial firm proposed a land lease rate between 7 and 14 cents per square foot.
While the jurors indicated they didn’t want to cancel the prior leases, they also expressed concern complying with legal requirements from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and Department of Transportation and Development.
Jurors recommended that Secretary-Treasurer Terry Lecombe compile data on current leases and project how a seven cent fee would alter the leases.
In other action, the Building and Grounds Committee recommended the full Jury accept an $11,700 bid from Exterior Cleaning Services, Inc. of Church Point to power wash the exterior of the parish courthouse. The only other bid was submitted by Junior’s Handy Painting Contractor, also of Church Point, for $129,152.
Jury President A.J. Credeur reported on the meeting with the board of American Legion Hospital on their offer to place a new parish health unit on their property. Jurors discussed a potential $800,000 Community Block Grant, which must be applied for before the end of this year and the need to obtain an opinion from the attorney general regarding building on the hospital’s property.