Choose better name for airport

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

To the editor:

This coming Thursday, March 21, the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association will present the following petition to our county Board of Supervisors:

The Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association supports the renaming of the current “Franklin Municipal Airport” as the “Western Tidewater Regional Airport.” The name “Western Tidewater Regional Airport” is much more inclusive and expansive than the current name and will best represent the economic interests of the other, larger municipalities that this airport serves: the city of Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties. This airport is not located in the city of Franklin but is entirely within the boundary of the Carrsville election district of Isle of Wight County.


Email newsletter signup

Besides the simple fact that this airport is not even in Franklin, the name “Western Tidewater Regional Airport” publicly reflects and represents the many regional institutions that call this area home: Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Western Tidewater Community Services Board, Western Tidewater Health District, Western Tidewater Mental Health Center, Western Tidewater Regional Jail, Tidewater Regional Fire Training Center at the airport as well as Western Tidewater Magazine published by the Tidewater News.

Isle of Wight County taxpayers have now paid some $27 million to the city of Franklin in “revenue sharing” since 1986 to prevent them from annexing the revenue-producing “International Paper” property and plant. This amount of money could have paid for a new Windsor High School! Although there is currently a statewide “moratorium” on such predatory practices that allow cities to legally confiscate county property, this could change in the future. There may be no way to stop the city of Franklin from annexing “their” airport despite the millions of dollars that Isle of Wight taxpayers have paid to them in what I call “extortion money” for decades.

I appeal to the residents of Carrsville District (and also Windsor, for that matter) to rally in favor of the name “Western Tidewater Regional” for the airport that is in their own neighborhood and within their own district. Our county may risk losing some of Carrsville District to become just another part of the city of Franklin. This “Big City” has proven itself no friend of Isle of Wight County through its decades-long “extortion” of our money.

I would also entreat the residents of northern Suffolk (and all Suffolkians, for that matter) to support the name Western Tidewater Regional Airport, because it would serve your economic interests also.

Albert Burckard