It has been three months since the City of Monticello has had a public airport, but a group is still working behind the scenes to re-open at a different location.
“I think we've identified six or seven properties that appear feasible,” Mike Atwood told the city council Monday.
“We've had some feasibility studies done by an engineering firm that was funded by outside donor money. We've got those back, we have willing landowners in most cases, so we have lots of options we're considering. So that's all very, very positive.”
Atwood headed a committee last year that looked at the options for the airport, which opened as a public landing strip in 1968 just south of Monticello, but closed in February after landowners chose not to renew the lease.
A smaller group has been looking at options to move the airport. Atwood said initial work is promising, but that planting season has delayed work at this point.
“This is farm ground. Farm ground is in production now, so we're dealing with those things. But I would hope in the next couple of months we would have something more for you,” he said.
Atwood added that the Illinois Department of Transportation/Division of Aeronautics has been cooperative, and that the city's involvement would be as a sponsor with little financial obligation.
“I'm glad to hear it's still being looked into. That's good,” said Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner.
A local economic development group has been funding the current airport study, and has committed funds towards its possible relocation. The city is needed as a sponsor to have a public airport. In the past the city only budgeted about $5,000 for upkeep, with day-to-day operations in the hands of the non-profit Sage Air.
The first plane to land in Piatt County did so in Kratz Field in 1925, which became the site of the single runway grass strip facility later.