Airport Authority

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Now that Bay County has secured the land to build a new airport, what do county officials plan to do with the old one? Airport authority officials are being very cautious, knowing that this big of a land deal could have a profound affect on Bay County.

Jet engines have been a common sound in Bay County for the last 40 years, but who knows what the future holds for this land.

Bay County has plans for a new airport in West Bay, and that means this land will be sold to a developer.

Airport authority board members met Monday afternoon to begin the process of selling the airport buildings and the 700 acres.

Some board members say they'd like to get up to $100 million for the site. Others say securing the right land developer is crucial to maintain the quality of life for the airport's neighbors.

Jimmy Patronis, Jr. of the Airport Authority says, "We want to make sure that the citizens of Bay County's interest are represented in the long-term planning and use of this property."

Whoever buys the current airport will have a unique opportunity, 700 acres of land in the middle of a city.

"The buyer will have some decisions to make to compliment and create a greater tax base for the city. Could be new schools, could be more churches, could be a park, could be a marina, could be some mix use residential, even a golf."

Board members will take another look at the actual request they'll be issuing for bids on the airport land and buildings before deciding on a final draft.

Bill Cramer, Airport Authority Vice Chair, says, "It's very important that our request for proposals, qualifications are as complete and thorough and as appropriate as they can be so that we can be able to take care of all the interest that's involved and be able to get the most funds."

They are funds that will be a significant part of the new airport.

Airport officials will meet again next week to discuss the proposed changes to the request for proposal.