What is the talk about the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport being placed under a different authority?
There are ongoing discussions to change the way the airport is governed. Many years ago, the airport was set up by the four government entities that own the airport. The airport is technically owned by Putnam County, White County, City of Cookeville, and City of Sparta. Each of the four has current ownership in four equal parts.
Randy Porter, of Putnam County, and Denny Wayne Robinson, of White County, represent the county executives. Lauren Wheaton and myself (Jerry Lowery) represent our respective cities. Currently, each city mayor and county executive serves on the airport board, along with other appointed members of the board that represent the citizens of each county.
The proposal to move to a new airport authority would change the process of running the airport. The four communities would, in effect, almost release the authority from the communities and put the control into the hands of the airport authority. In a sense, each community would be able to keep a vested interest by appointing people to the board. However, ultimately in the proposed change, the airport authority and its appointed members would have the final say in all the business of the airport.
There are many moving parts to this discussion. Attorneys for each of the four entities are currently in discussion with the FAA and legal counsel to determine the best fit for each community. There is much more involved in this process, and I will do my best to keep the citizens of Sparta and White County informed of the outcome.
The airport is a vital asset to our community, and many industries look for areas to move that have some air transport available as they seek areas to move their companies. I am committed to doing what is best for our citizens and also understand that sometimes changes need to be made to further progress. With that said, we will allow the legal team to sort out all the details and then present them back to the airport board for action if needed.
Be safe out there!
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