Petition presented to change airport name

Published 6:33 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

Dear Sir,

On Thursday, the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association (IWCA) presented the following petition to our county Board of Supervisors:

“The Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association supports the renaming of the current “Franklin Municipal Airport” as the “Western Tidewater Regional Airport.” The name “Western Tidewater Regional Airport” is much more inclusive and expansive than the current name, and will best represent the economic interests of the other, larger municipalities that this airport serves: The City of Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties. This airport is not located in the city of Franklin, but is entirely within the boundary of the Carrsville Election District of Isle of Wight County, Virginia.”

Besides the simple fact that this airport is not even in Franklin, the name “Western Tidewater Regional Airport” publicly reflects and represents the many regional institutions that call this area home: Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Western Tidewater Community Services Board, Western Tidewater Health District, Western Tidewater Mental health Center, Western Tidewater Regional Jail, Tidewater Regional Fire Training Center at the airport, as well as Western Tidewater Magazine published by The Tidewater News.

Isle of Wight County taxpayers have now paid some $27 million to the City of Franklin in “revenue sharing” since 1986 to prevent them from annexing the revenue-producing “International Paper” property and plant. This amount of money could have paid for a new Windsor High School!

Although there is currently a statewide “moratorium” on such predatory practices that allow cities to legally confiscate county property, this could change in the future. There may be no way to stop the City of Franklin from annexing “their” airport despite the millions of dollars that Isle of Wight taxpayers have paid to them in what I call “extortion money” for decades.

Albert Burckard