St. Clair Airport Has Four Tenants
January 4, 2014
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  • As the new year settles in, an area pilot has decided to take his plane from St. Clair and move it elsewhere.

    City Administrator Rick Childers confirmed to The Missourian on Thursday that one of the St. Clair Regional Airport tenants has vacated his hangar space at the facility.

    That leaves only four tenants at the airport located on the north side of town.

    Jim DeVries of Pacific, one of the remaining pilots to house a plane at St. Clair’s airport, claimed on his blog late last year that, “a local Franklin County resident, with a St. Clair address, is moving out due to the high hangar rates, taxiway conditions and lack of fuel on the field.”

    DeVries stated the individual has moved his plane to Sullivan.

    None of the pilots who house planes at the facility lives in the city of St. Clair.

    Early last year, after some correspondence between the pilots and city officials, the aldermen ended up keeping hangar rental rates the same as in 2012 at $175 per month.

    DeVries often uses his blog to criticize the city and The Missourian.

    In this latest entry, he stated that, “The management practices of the city will no doubt cause the airport to lose money and become a burden to the taxpayers of the city.”

    DeVries would not respond when asked by The Missourian if he would like officially to comment on the tenant situation.

    St. Clair officials have said for years that the airport operates in the red, and audited financial numbers have backed that up.

    In early 2013, the city opened a separate bank account for the airport after it was recommended by state and federal authorities to do so.

    St. Clair’s administration has been trying to close the airport for several years. In order to do that, however, permission has to be granted by the Federal Aviation Administration because the city has used federal grants to help pay for improvements at the 80-acre facility.

    City officials and the FAA and Missouri Department of Transportation volleyed information back and forth throughout 2013. State and federal officials have sent the city lists of corrective actions needed at the airport before closure is considered, and the city has sent back information on the improvements made.

    Last March, MoDOT told the city it will not stand in the way of St. Clair’s attempts to close the airport, stating that “because the city has made its desire clear, MoDOT will not oppose the city’s request to close the airport.”

    Also late last year, the board of aldermen agreed to retain the services of QED Airport and Aviation Consultants, which has been  working with the city on closing its regional airport since 2010.

    Under the terms of the contract, which is similar to previous pacts, QED only will be paid if the city is successful in obtaining closure. If that happens, the company will receive $150,000.

    The extension is good for the 2014 calendar year.