LETTER – Airport is key to jobs growth
May 3, 2013
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  • Holland Township —Letter-writer Al Friend’s worn-out comments about West Michigan Regional Airport (WMRA), formerly Tulip City Airport, require a response.

    WMRA is key to job and economic growth. Six of the WMRA’s top 10 users have major, job-generating plants in Holland Township. Gentex operates a Holland Township building that was empty when the cities of Holland and Zeeland and Park Township created the airport authority. Today it houses 900 workers. Since 2009, employment grew by 1,250 workers in Holland Township and 12,000 in the region.

    The airport won federal and state grants by leveraging a small amount of local matching funds. Multimillion-dollar runway extensions and taxiway improvements, an instrument landing system and security fencing were made possible by the local match. New safety and ground facility projects look doable if the match is available.

    WMRA serves many important uses. Nearby Holland Hospital depends on it for critical care flights. It is Wings of Mercy’s base airport for numerous flights. The Coast Guard relies on it for refueling its summer patrols.

    The region uses WMRA, and it needs regional support! By voting “yes,” Holland and Zeeland townships will be providing that support. Each will have three seats on the WMRA board.

    The bottom line is that Metal Flow, Haworth, Herman Miller, Request Foods, Johnson Controls, Gentex, Zeeland Farm Services, Hamilton Farm Bureau and many employers use the airport to grow and create jobs. I strongly urge a “yes” vote for the airport, for jobs, and for our community.

    Leslie Brown
    Chairman, Metal Flow,
    for the Jobs and Economy Team (JET)