(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte has taken a step toward annexing land south of the municipal airport.
Just under 50 acres has been acquired by the airport for possible expansion. A petition was introduced at Tuesday night's La Porte City Council meeting to rezone it for airport use. Airport officials want to redirect the main runway, angling it from the northwest to the southeast. They say that direction is more advantageous for pilots, given prevailing headwinds. They also hope to extend the runway from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, making it more accessible to private jets.
Bill Nelson, the attorney representing the airport, explained why that could be a game-changer for La Porte and a big money-maker for the airport. “When you have a small runway, planes will pass you by, jets will pass you by,” he told the council. “And they will land at places like Valparaiso; they’ll go to Kalamazoo, and they’ll drive down, because they need to land their jets.” Nelson also pointed out that jet fuel sales really boost airport revenues.
However, Nelson stressed that any runway expansion will take a long time to work through government hoops. Annexation and rezoning is necessary to get the process started.
A public hearing on the annexation is scheduled for August 1. A final vote on the annexation will take place September 6.
Following Tuesday night’s vote, Mayor Tom Dermody also reminded City Council members that the airport situation reinforces recent precedence that annexation is necessary for any outlying areas to receive city utilities.