Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 29, 2013

West Side Chamber visits airport

By Brenda L. Holmes

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Airport Authority hosted a meeting for the West Side Chamber of Commerce in an effort to keep the organization “in the know” on what’s going on at the Indianapolis International Airport.

IAA Executive Director Robert “Bob” Duncan spoke to the chamber about some of the airport’s history, along with sharing what they’re currently working on.

“The original airport had three runways and the longest one was 2,000 feet long,” Duncan said. “We have a runway now that is 11,200 feet long and a second one that is 10,000 feet long.”

He said the longer runway was designed to help facilitate the needs of the Indianapolis FedEx hub at the airport.

“We have no immediate plans to build the third runway,” Duncan said. “It will not be built until the current runways are saturated.

“That’s a $1 billion project. And to put that into perspective, our terminal and all its ancillary facilities was a $1 billion project. I don’t think they’ll build it in my lifetime.”

He said the IAA has been working with airlines to get some direct flights from Indianapolis to the west coast.

“We cannot provide incentives, but we can give them all the information we have to help them make a decision,” Duncan said.

Duncan also told chamber members that the old airport terminal is scheduled to be demolished by the end of this year.

“Sections of that building are between 50 and 55 years old,” he said. “There has been some interest in that real estate, but people don’t want to have to wait two years for it to be taken down.”

He said it will take between $8 and $11 million to tear down the old facility.

IAA’s Mike Huber then spoke to the chamber about development in and around the airport. Huber is the senior director of commercial enterprise.

“We’re trying to market the old terminal area to aviation-related businesses,” Huber said. “The runway access makes it ideal.”

He said one of his main objectives right now is to find a large company or “anchor” business to come into the Washington Street corridor.

“If we get that anchor, we would have the jobs and be able to attract other businesses,” he said. “Attracting that anchor will be the catalyst for that area.”

The mission of the West Side Chamber of Commerce is to promote vibrant, sustainable economic development and strengthen the quality of life in Pike, Wayne, and Decatur townships, and eastern Hendricks County by attracting, retaining, and connecting businesses; advocating pro-business public policies; and assisting businesses in actively engaging in the community.

For more information about the West Side Chamber of Commerce, visit the website at www.westsidechamber.biz.