Waco Regional Airport to buy surrounding lands to expand

Posted at 8:13 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 21:13:46-04

The Waco Regional Airport plans to expand but one of its projects won’t involve any new buildings of flights.

It will involve buying land around the airport to prevent any more development that might affect the number, and schedule of flights out of Waco.

Melanie Pell and her family love their new home in China Spring… even though their backyard practically sits at the end of the runway at the Waco airport.

"It doesn’t bother us, we don’t really hear it when we’re inside and when we’re out it’s not too bad," Pell said.

Her children like the novelty of the planes that fly over their home.

But as the Waco airport continues to grow and expand, some fear that “novelty” may turn to “nuisance.”

That’s why airport managers want to buy some of the surrounding lands around the airport to prevent further development.

“As land becomes available and the funding becomes available we’re just gonna keep our eye on the market and see where we’re at and we’re gonna buy this land to prevent any type of encroachment and really it’s to keep the public safe,” said Joel Martinez, Aviation Director for the City of Waco.

He says it will help pave the way for expansion, prevent noise problems for neighbors and prevent plans in emergencies from coming down in neighborhoods.

The airport has $2.6 million worth of grant money for key projects, including land acquisition, and Martinez wants to act fast.

Other uses for the airport’s grant money include a new fire truck and taxiway repairs.

Airports in other cities have waited too long to buy “buffer land” and ended up spending millions and millions more to buy finished homes like these, just to tear them down.

Martinez says, Waco leaders want the airport to grow… with more services and more flights, and he wants to do it with minimal impact on people living nearby.

”And so as those things hopefully increase, you know, we can prevent it from being a nuisance to our neighbors," Martinez said. 

The Pell family likes that airport leaders want to look out for them, and keep their neighborhood peaceful.

”I think it’s probably a good idea for the future,” said Melanie Pell.

A future, she hopes, won’t include a lot of noisy planes at all hours of the day and night.

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