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On The Edges--Ozark

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by Diane Rarick

The Ozark Board of Aldermen recently voted to authorize the city's Public Financing Corporation to buy 80 acres next to the airport for future expansion. The nonprofit corporation plans to borrow $1.225 million to purchase 80 acres on the south side of 120-acre Air Park South. The 15-year loan from Ozark Bank, at 6.5 percent interest, closed Dec. 30.

The city is working on an agreement to buy the privately owned airport, located on the west side of North 22nd Street, about a mile south of Christian County CC.

The city has a verbal understanding to purchase the airport from owner Dr. Thomas Ashley, according to City Administrator Steve Horton.

The city was "Unable to get the ability to expand the airport or make it a city airport until expansion property became available," he said.

The existing runway is 1,700 feet long, but plans are to build a 5,000-foot runway, long enough to accommodate small corporate jets. The additional land would provide space for industry and airport-related businesses.

"Engineer Mike Zimmerman with Archer Engineers is putting together an airport layout plan and engineering study that will tell us what is required for airport expansion and what will be left over for industry," Horton said.

He added that he hopes to receive the study in early January.

"This is going to open up a complete new arena of industrial development. We had not been able to expand into the aircraft industry. Now we will be able to go forward."

The city is now in the process of contacting state and federal officials to plan the airport.

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