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Letter to the Editor: Response to the Elliott Field public airport

Dawson County News recently reported that the Chamber of Commerce held a “discussion” about Dawsonville entertaining the idea of changing the Elliott air strip on Elliott Parkway property to a public air field.  Mayor Eason cited the change as an "improvement," which, I believe, would allow more airplanes to land and leave more often.  He also mentioned that the Elliotts’ would be willing to “donate” funds for the improvement.  Of course, they will, because they will receive a publicly funded airport right on their property.

A brief history from those of us who grew up in surrounding counties of DeKalb, Cobb and Fulton when their little airports “took off."

By 1975 more than 400 aircraft, as well as 48 corporations, were based at Peachtree DeKalb Airport. In 1988 the FAA completed a $2 million, 130-foot freestanding control tower for the airport. In the 1990s PDK obtained a modern helipad, where most media organizations in Atlanta base their helicopters. Today, PDK consists of 765 acres, which encompasses 4 runways (each more than 5,500 feet), 25 large hangars, and 90 smaller ones, with about 590 aircraft based at the facility.

The Charlie Brown Airport in Fulton County, just west of Hartsfield, had 293 passenger boardings in calendar year 2008, 198 in 2009, and 725 in 2010. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which considers it a reliever airport and handles much of the traffic that would otherwise go to Hartsfield.

McCollum Field in Cobb County, opened in 1960 with a single 4,000-foot runway. There was a small taxiway of 60,000 square feet of aprons, and a single administration building. The airport steadily grew over the 30 years.  McCollum Field was first designed as a small field for general aviation. It is designated as a reliever airport for Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Cobb County is also the primary general aviation airport for the Atlanta suburban population. With an average of 475 takeoffs and landings each day, it is the third most trafficked airport in Georgia.

One might wonder what the impact might be, Mayor Eason, on the surrounding community?  Will it be louder? ( ...oh no, that’s right, according to Christie Moore with the Chamber of Commerce, these planes are super quite ones.)  Will it add pollution?  Will it bring traffic jams to our beautiful blue skies?

Again, how is this bringing improvements to Dawsonville?

Susan Baldwin