by Dave Retka, President
Isle Airport Association
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine – April/May 2021 issue
So long 2020! A year consisting of more than a fair share of disappointment and loss. To those who have experienced loss, be it job, opportunity, friends or family, we extend our sincere sympathy and wishes for a much better 2021.
Well, we did it! The tall trees off the south end of the runway are gone. The State will not be closing Isle Airport. A few more trees on airport property at the north end will also come down this winter. The State has told us once these trees are removed, we will meet public airport licensing criteria. And this is our next big goal…reestablishing Isle Public Airport. For now, we will continue as a private airport, but we will be meeting with the city throughout this year to convince them to approve a move to public status. The benefits of a public airport in Isle are huge, and in our opinion, the only way Isle Airport will achieve longevity.
We sincerely thank all the individuals and organizations that contributed to our efforts this past year. This includes Kyle Lewis of AOPA, who came to Isle and held a townhall meeting to explain the value of small airports to local residents; the Recreational Aviation Foundation which came through with a sizable monetary grant; the Minnesota Pilots Association which helped spread the word around the state; many EAA chapters contributed; Minnesota Flyer and Midwest Flyer Magazine which published several articles about our situation; and countless individuals who came forward with letters of support and donations.
What we did was monumental. We convinced the City of Isle, which had their sights set on an RV park on the airport property, to enforce an easement to remove trees on private property – the very trees that would have forced the State to close Isle Airport in the spring. Thank you, thank you! The organizations mentioned above deserve every pilot’s support, for they truly “go to bat” to protect our right to fly.
As I mentioned, we remain a private airport at the present time. That means there are no outside funds available to Isle Airport for maintenance and operation. These funds must come from association dues, donations and our annual July flight breakfast. And we hope our flight breakfast this year will be a success because last year’s event was cancelled. We ask that you help spread the word to support Isle Airport. Thank you all very much!