Good info from the Navy

Published 11:46 am Friday, November 12, 2010

A few weeks ago in this space, we challenged City of Franklin and Navy officials to begin offering details about plans to use Franklin Municipal Airport for turboprop touch-and-go training.

To its credit, the Navy has done so.

On Oct. 27, aviators conducted demonstrations to give residents an idea of the noise the planes will make as they approach and leave the airport. On the same day, they listened to the concerns of citizens and answered their questions at a public meeting in Isle of Wight County, near the airport, and in smaller gatherings in affected neighborhoods.

More flight demonstrations are planned, the Navy says.

Now, Adm. J.C. Harvey Jr., commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, has begun providing details about the benefits the city would derive from hosting the training. In guest commentary elsewhere on this page, Harvey writes of up to $2 million in improvements the Navy would make to the airport and lists a few of the services that the city might be paid to provide.

The more we hear, the more comfortable we are with the Navy’s plan.

Since it has no apparent legal obligation to negotiate at all, we commend Harvey and other officials for taking the time to listen to the community’s concerns and answer its questions.

The deed that transferred ownership of the airport to the city after World War II seems to give the Navy the option of using the airport whether the city likes it or not — or, in an extreme scenario, according to City Attorney Taylor Williams, the legal right to take over airport operations completely.

Franklin and its citizens are wise to continue to the cordial dialog in which the Navy has engaged to date.