The next time any of us wonder why our community continues to support improvements to Great Bend Municipal Airport, we might consider the work that is going on northwest of here, in a crucial effort to play “catch-up.”
It was reported recently the “Rooks County Commission voted to establish zoning regulations for the airport about five miles south of Stockton. A 5,000-foot runway will replace grass runways used in Stockton and Plainville.”
It was also suggested that “the proposed $4 million airport would bring long-term economic benefits to the county.”
Great Bend has a massive investment in air traffic, too, dating back to World War II in its current location, and with good reason.
Air transportation is essential for any community to grow.
For existing businesses to grow larger and for the community to grow new businesses, you have to have air transportation.
There are those who would argue the point, especially for towns the size of Great Bend, Hays, Dodge City or, in this most recent case, Stockton and Plainville.
They suggest that it’s just as good to have “regional” air service, for these smaller communities to drive to Wichita or Topeka or even Kansas City to get connections.
Interestingly, you will find that those who hold those opinions also hold connections to — you guessed it — Wichita, Topeka or Kansas City.
Our smaller communities are viable business centers, and we need viable, fast transportation for business needs.
As time goes by, we will need more, not less, air transportation, and the extent to which local officials have built that air future will tie in with the future success of business in this area.
— Chuck Smith