Airport discusses restaurant

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Wood County Airport Authority learned the need for a new restaurant owner during the regular business meeting Tuesday.

“The restaurant is closed,” airport manager Terry Moore told the board. “We haven’t done anything with it since the last tenants left.”

The space has been empty since Oct. 16 when the previous owners closed due to a lack of business, Moore said.

“The lease holders have requested to end the contract and suggested the airport keep the equipment as payment,” he said. “We are not sure if they even owned the equipment, so we don’t know what to do.”

Board president Bill Richardson told Moore that since the airport has the information regarding the equipment in writing, it can be used as a claim of entitlement.

“If someone comes and says they own the equipment, you have the letter,” Richardson said.

Mary’s Plane View Restaurant, owned by Mary James, was a staple at the facility as the only place to sit down and have a meal, but her lease ended in September 2012 and Tracy Pettit started her own restaurant at that time.

“The restaurant business is hard and with the set clientele here, they were just unable to win the crowd Mary had,” Moore added.

James passed away Oct. 29. According to her obituary, she had worked at the airport’s restaurant for more than 30 years, first as an employee for Helen’s Wood County Airport Restaurant before she purchased the lease and ran the business herself for more than 20 years.

Moore said the airport has not touched the space since it closed.

“With it empty, this gives us a chance to do some renovations and cleanup because it has been continuously occupied for several decades,” he added.

The airport has lost business without having an eatery. Moore said he has spoken to several people who have decided not to fly into or out of the airport because the restaurant is closed.

“If anybody knows of someone who would like to open a restaurant here, let us know,” he added.

In other business:

* Tim Flinn was named the secretary/treasurer of the board as former seat holder Jeff McDougle has been named the airport manager-select.

Flinn joined the board in October 2012 after the death of his father Virgil Flinn, who had been a longtime member.

McDougle was announced as Moore’s replacement Oct. 21 and has been working with the current manager since to learn the ropes of the facility.

“When we get into mid-November, he will move up here full-time,” Moore said of his replacement.

Richardson said that of the 10 candidates the airport received for the position, the board was pleased with the variety.

“As far as the search for the new manager, the committee was very pleased we did not have to search outside of the area,” Richardson said.

* Enplanements continue to be above 700 with 726 passengers having used the commercial service in October.

“The 726 is still a good number and we are still on track to have the best year since I’ve been here,” Moore said.