Griffith Considering Airport Purchase

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(photo courtesy of our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana) (photo courtesy of our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana)

The Griffith Town Council is considering a request to acquire the Griffith-Merrillville Airport. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the airport's current owners are asking the council to buy the facility to ensure its "long-term continued operations and growth."

Griffith Aviation Inc. Vice President Craig Anderson told the council changing federal policies combined with the current economy have made it unfeasible to remain a privately-owned airport, according to the publication. The council says it will study the possibility of owning the airport.

"We want to emphasize that we are only in the exploratory mode of this now," said Town Council President Rick Ryfad. "We have contracted with a very experienced attorney, with aviation expertise in like matters, to help in the evaluation."

Anderson said the Federal Aviation Administration began changing its airport classifications three years ago and now, the airport is not eligible for FAA improvement and maintenance grants. Bringing the airport under municipal ownership, Anderson says, would restore grant funding and provide zoning and condemnation powers.

Anderson adds the airport has an economic impact of $55 million and employs 60 full-time and part-time workers. The airport typically sees more than 60,000 flights each year.

The Times reports if the town were to accept the proposal, it could take up to one year for reviews and proposals from the state and the FAA.

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