S.D. panel closes Clear Lake airport

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Aeronautics Commission granted a request Thursday to shut down the Clear Lake public airport.

Leaders in the community of more than 1,200 people plan to convert the property to an industrial park, according to Tom Koch, who does airport inspections for the state Department of Transportation.

There are two turf runways. “There’s actually no based aircraft there,” Koch told the commission.

It’s 22 nautical miles from Watertown’s airport. Pilots also could go to Arlington, Madison or Clark.

Commission chairman Eric Odenbach of Eureka recalled that Bowdle’s local government wanted the airport there closed so the land could be sold. After the commission agreed, the deal fell through and some people wanted the airport opened again. The commission declined.

“There’s kind of a bad situation there,” Odenbach said.

The commission Thursday also re-licensed 69 municipal airports and agreed to pay for a ground communications outlet at the Huron airport.

A GCO allows pilots on the ground to communicate with air traffic controllers and flight service stations.

“I think that’ll be a good thing for Huron,” chairman Odenbach said. 

Jon Becker, who handles airport projects for SDDOT, said CARES Act funds from Congress can’t be used.

Becker doesn’t expect any other airports will seek GCOs. “I’m not anticipating any other requests,” he said.

In 2013, the commission purchased GCOs for 16 South Dakota airports that agreed to provide phone lines, locations and maintenance.

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