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Say yes to the airport project

Say yes to the airport project

There’s nothing like an articulate opinion — particularly one that goes against the grain a bit — to help crystallize one’s own thoughts on an issue.

Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, argued in his April 16 Brainerd Dispatch Guest Opinion that the effort to extend Brainerd city and water to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport (part of a proposed Minnesota House bonding bill) should be rejected.

This newspaper’s editorial board disagrees and urges the Senate District 10 legislators (Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point; Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter; and Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby) to continue their bipartisan efforts to make the project a priority in this legislative session.

Marohn’s guest column contained several interesting arguments but he seemed to skirt around the very real problem facing the Brainerd airport — lack of consistent water pressure that led the state fire marshal to mandate improvements be made to the system by 2016. What’s to be done when the use of the airport’s terminal is at risk in the not so distant future?

The choices before our government officials are a stop-gap project such as a water tank and pump system or the extension of city water and sewer from Brainerd.

Part of the reason why $6.5 million of the approximately $7.1 million is included in the House bill is because House members recognize Brainerd’s airport is one that serves the region. Businesses and individuals far beyond the city limits of Brainerd depend on the airport for business and recreational travel. If Brainerd was strictly concerned with what goes on within its own borders, perhaps it would have no interest in extending water to the airport and would focus on neighborhood investments. Brainerd, however, is very much tied to the economic health of the surrounding region.

This utility expansion is a long-term solution that makes sense. We hope area lawmakers convince their colleagues in the House and Senate to include it in this year’s bonding bill.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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