Immediate Release

 For Information Contact:

Thursday, April 7, 2020

Brian Adey

Griffo Names Panel to Outline Future
For Oneida County Airport

Oneida County Executive Joseph A. Griffo today announced the appointment of a committee to propose long-term options for the future of the current Oneida County Airport.

Oneida County is receiving federal Military Airport Program funding to renovate Griffiss Park’s airfield. Under terms of the federal grant, when the multi-year capital project funded with $28 million in federal money is concluded, the county airport designation would shift to Griffiss.

“The current Oneida County Airport is an outstanding location, and is a strong asset to our county,” Griffo said. “This panel will look at a number of options and prepare some plans that can be publicly reviewed before we commit to any one strategy.”

Griffo said the panel will draw upon expertise from a cross-section of the economic sectors, populations and communities impacted by the airport and its potential reuse. “The regional impact of our decision will impact the entire Oneida County economy,” Griffo said. “Just as our plans for Griffiss have been developed through regional input, the future of the airport site should be designed by a regional group with a broad vision of the future.”

The panel will include Mike Baldwin of Oneida County Pilots Association and a resident of Clinton; former Whitestown Supervisor William Barry of Whitesboro; Vincent Coyne of Whitesboro; Susan Eilenberg of Rome; former Oneida County Commissioner of Planning Michael Gapin; Barbara Klein of Utica; BOCES Superintendent Howard Mettleman, a former Superintendent of the Oriskany School District and town of Whitestown resident; Leonard Pugh of Oriskany; Chairman of Whitestown Planning Committee Karl Schrantz of Whitesboro; Regional Director New York State Department of Transportation Mark Silo; and Ken Tompkins of New Hartford.

“The plan will be developed with significant input from the public, pilots, Town of Whitestown officials, and employers at the Industrial Park near the airport,” Griffo said. “At this point, every option – including the sale of the airport to private buyers – is on the table.”

Griffo noted that for more than a year, county officials have been conducting an ongoing dialogue with the Federal Reserve, a major employer at the airport, to address potential concerns and develop a plan that will meet the Federal Reserve’s needs.

“With more than 3,000 jobs near the current airport, I can assure you our actions will be designed to work with every employer at the airport site, which as an Empire Zone has some extremely attractive property for development,” Griffo said. “The key issues in developing a reuse plan will be maximizing economic impact of the site and minimizing costs to the taxpayers.”

Griffo said because the county’s intent is to relocate the airport to Griffiss by 2007, it was important to begin preparing plans now.

“Our goal is to work with the public so that we can begin the next phase of the Airport’s existence in the same way the Griffiss project was developed, through collaboration and consensus. By starting now, and involving everyone in the process, we can develop the right option for pilots, the private sector, and everyone else concerned with the airport,” he said.

Griffo said that county officials have approached U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to secure federal funds that will augment local resources and personnel from the Oneida County Planning Department to pay the costs of developing a master plan for the reuse of the existing site.

“The existing site is very valuable property, and we need to make sure that all aspects of reuse are thoroughly considered so that we have a number of options to choose from. Environmental as well as economic development concerns must be addressed, which is why we need to augment our local staff with outside consultants,” Griffo said, noting that County Government will be working with Mohawk Valley EDGE and Empire State Development Corporation to leverage private and public support to fund the master plan for reuse of the Whitestown site.