BENNER TOWNSHIP — Community members were excited to hear about some new plans the University Park Airport has in store for the facility.
After about a year of restructuring a new master plan, a public open house was held Wednesday night at the main terminal that mapped out its future.
Airport Director Bryan Rodgers said the airport comes up with a new master plan about every 10 years with a Master Plan Advisory Committee, and help from the Federal Aviation Administration. The last one was started in 2000 and launched by 2003, Rodgers said.
“We project those demands from passengers and from an operations standpoint, and we then use the professional planning team to determine what infrastructure we need and have in place to meet those demands,” Rodgers said.
The Master Plan Advisory Committee works with the public, and includes members of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and ClearWater Conservancy to make sure that community, business and environmental needs are met.
Rodgers said the airport anticipates increased passenger levels. Reports show that in 2012, there were 138,488 enplanements. By 2032, the airport estimates 217,994.
Enplanements are used to determine how busy an airport is.
“An airport is a great economic tool for the area,” Rodgers said. “It’s a great resource to bring people in and out, and corporations look for a community that has a viable airport and has gotten even better.”
Rodgers said the airport market is set for the business traveler instead of the leisure traveler, but is looking to accomodate both sides with services that could bring people to destination locations, as well.
“The market could support two flights a week to places like south Florida or Orlando,” Rodgers said.
United Airlines recently launched direct service to and from Chicago, and Delta Air Lines announced it would start nonstop service to Atlanta this summer.
Tom Kurtz, a Patton Township resident and former township manager, said he’s looking at the pros and cons that come with the new master plan, and hopes his input will be heard.
“I’m interested and glad to see they’re accommodating growth with the airport. At the same time, I want to see if they coordinated information between the two townships (Patton and Benner) about the noise contours,” Kurtz said, who is recommending they speak with zoning officials before anything is finalized.
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.