The Kennewick Irrigation District board would like Vista Field to remain an airport – at least until the contract with the city of kennewick runs out in 2021.
Directors voted Tuesday to send a letter of support for the airport to the Port of Kennewick because KID owns 47 acres in the Vista Field area.
Closing the airport could affect about 300 jobs associated with Vista Field, said Joetta Rupert, KID’s real estate manager.
“Presently, we’re not aware of any alternative land use plans that would be put into place to create replacement jobs if the airport were to close,” said KID’s letter sent Tuesday to Tim Arntzen, the port’s executive director.
Rupert said Arntzen asked KID to comment about the possioble airport closure, which port commissioners will consider this summmer after a state long-term transportation study is completed.
Rupert said KID’s plans to sell property in the Vista Field area have not been affected by the existence of the airport.
KID’s letter said keeping the airport in place until 2021 will allow “adequate time to create a master plan for the future of the airport site.”
Gene Huffman, KID director, said the airport is a valuable asset.
“We need to keep it open as we develop the wine industry because we have people who fly in and there are motels nearby,” he said.