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Republic Airport Vision Plan Update: Still in Step One of Five-Step Plan

Consultants and Airport Officials Meeting With Civics, Then Businesses

Over two months after Republic Airport in East Farmingdale announced they were committed to completing a Vision Plan and statement, airport officials have said they are still in the first step of the five-step study.

Step one is meeting with the community. After that, workshops will be held, and then consultants will develop visions, as step two and three. An analysis and finally a public opportunity to comment on visions will end the process with steps four and five.

At the Republic Airport Commission meeting on June 22, airport director Michael Geiger briefly discussed the group’s progress in the Vision Plan, saying they were still meeting with leaders of local civic groups to get their input. Geiger said the group, which consists of airport officials and consultants from DY Consultants in Roslyn, will continue to meet with civic leaders for a few more weeks and will then meet with local businesses. After that, they will then begin the second step, holding informational workshops that will be open to the community.

Airport Manager Shelley LaRose-Arken explained that the Vision Plan task force was having trouble getting in contact with some civic leaders while reaching out to 15 groups recently, resulting in a sparse showing at meetings. This has delayed the process and frustrated some people.

Helen Norjen, a member of the Woodland Civic Association in East Farmingdale, said at the June meeting she wants to see meetings that are more open to the public and better publicized. Airport officials responded by saying this step of the plan is for meeting with civic leaders, not large groups. The next step of the plan will allow for more public input.

“This will be done right, the right way, no matter how long it takes to get done,” said Republic Airport Commission Chairman Frank Nocerino, responding to Norjen’s complaint that the airport is making decisions without enough public input.

On its website, Republic Airport describes the purpose of the Vision Plan as “to develop goals with reasonable compromises that allow the airport and the community to support one another in the most effective manner possible.”

It also says on its website, “The final product will be an easy-to-read magazine-style document reflecting the interests of all stakeholders. The brochure will include a variety of goals summarizing the information collected. All ideas and concepts will adhere to federal and state laws and regulations. There will also be a qualitative analysis indicating the income and jobs generated by each goal. Decision makers will evaluate the goals, and the end result will be a Vision Statement that represents the collaboration of interests.”

Airport officials said in April that they expect the consultants to address the final visions by fall 2010.

The next meeting of the Republic Airport Commission is on Tuesday, August 17 at 7 p.m., held at 7150 Republic Airport in Conference Room 201 of the Main Terminal Building.

For more information on the Vision Plan, visit the airport’s Web site at http://www.republicairportvision.com/index.html.