City rejects KSNL proposal for airport property

Tina Bridenstine
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee Regional Airport.

Shawnee city commissioners on Monday rejected a proposal being made by KSNL for possible improvements on Shawnee Regional Airport property.

Among the items considered at Monday's Shawnee City Commission meeting was one on the Shawnee Airport Authority agenda regarding use of airport property and a potential proposal to build restaurants and other buildings at the airport.

On the Shawnee Airport Authority agenda, one of the items up for consideration was to enter into an executive session and then another to consider a proposal by KSNL for utilization of airport property.

Darrin Lofton, owner and president of KSNL Aero, addressed commissioners during the citizens participation part of the meeting, when citizens are limited to three minutes each to speak to commissioners.

Lofton explained the proposal the city would be considering was to build two new restaurants, a rental car center, eight new hangars and an engine overhaul facility at the airport. It has taken more than one year and nearly $20,000, he said, just to be able to get the proposal on the airport authority agenda.

More: KSNL proposal would more hangars, a parking lot and restaurants to Shawnee airport

“We're excited to say we've entered into a four-year agreement with the city, and we've already invested several millions of dollars to bring jobs and improvement to this community,” Lofton said, adding that he felt it was a “huge step” getting past the committee “since two of our direct competitors are members of that committee.”

“It has cost us a lot of money and a lot of time to get to this point, so I really hope you guys will take into consideration our proposals, maybe give me more than three minutes – maybe ten minutes – to talk to you ...” he said. “We just want to bring good-quality jobs to Shawnee. We have a 40-year lease at the airport and that's a long time. We want to do good things in that four years.”

Later in the meeting, when commissioners came to the Shawnee Airport Authority agenda, they voted unanimously to enter into an executive session to discuss the issue.

More: SFD, area departments gain aircraft fire training

When they returned, Mayor Ed Bolt asked if there were any further questions or discussions on the matter, but there was none. 

Ward 3 Commissioner Travis Flood moved to reject the proposal, with commissioners voting 6-0 in favor of rejecting the proposal, with Ward 1 Commissioner Daniel Matthews absent from Monday night's meeting.

Watch for updates and more from Monday's city commission meeting in future editions of The Shawnee News-Star.