Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 27, 2013

Informational session takes flight

Potomac Highlands Airport Authority to host summer meeting

WILEY FORD, W.Va. — The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority agreed on Thursday to host an informational session this summer to bring everyone up to speed on the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport and to discuss its master plan and future direction for the facility.

The meeting will include as many key players as possible, including delegates and secretaries of economic development for both West Virginia and Maryland, officials said.

“It’s not a forum for input from the community. It’s education to get everyone on the same page so we can then turn around and ask for state funding or federal funding or anything else we are looking for,” said Stu Czapski, executive director of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce.

Airport Manager Ryan Shaffer has been reviewing the master plan and airport layout plan to determine what can be done to make the facility more successful.

“The majority of the master plan are some of the things we have in place now, but basically entails what we have on site, what we own and what they anticipate us moving into in the future,” said Shaffer.

The plan shows that in 2012 the airport should have been operating on $50,000 a year and it’s about $13,500 currently, according to Shaffer. In 1991, when the plan was created, Cumberland was booming, he said.

Tha airport isn’t bound by the master plan but is bound by the layout plan because that is what the Federal Aviation Administration uses when administering funds, Shaffer said.

The board also agreed to form a working group comprised of several authority members as well as Shaffer and Max White. That group will work in conjunction with Mona Ridder, executive director of the Mineral County Development Authority, Czapski and Steve Spahr, chief of staff and vice president for economic development at Frostburg State University, to further the economic development at the airport.

FSU President  Jonathan Gibralter is interested in a ground flight school at the airport and has been exploring the possibility for a couple of years, according to Spahr.

“Recent conversations with the board and with the chair have led us to believe the time might be right time to start,” said Spahr. “We are looking at grant opportunities. We are looking at the possibility of developing a program which would be a bachelor’s for aero engineering for a commercial pilot’s license. It’s very preliminary. We expect to work hand in hand and make some progress in the near future.”

It would take at least three years for someone to create the program for the ground flight school, according to Spahr.

The idea of a ground flight school was brought to the board’s attention in 2006 and members voted it down, according to Creade Brodie Jr. authority chairman.

“As soon as we took over we jumped right back into this with Steve (Spahr) and Mr. Gibralter and they are all for this,” said Brodie.

During the meeting, Ridder showed the board a plan for a proposed airport industrial park and stressed the importance of freight service. The park would likely have manufactured goods transported to the airport for distribution.

Ridder discussed the possibility of an inland port on 300 acres of CSX property in Carpendale that would be necessary if the airport decided to utilize freight. 

“If you have freight flying in you need to put it on a truck to go somewhere. If you have the inland port it can go by rail, it can go by truck,” said Ridder. “It will help you, it will help the entire region.”

Ridder has been in contact with the West Virginia Public Port Authority, they are very interested in the project and will be visiting in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s an idea in its infancy,” said Ridder. “I want to see economic growth of wealth in Mineral County.”  

Also during the meeting, Shaffer indicated that retired Northwest Airlines Capt. Steve Van Kirk and his brother Malcolm Van Kirk are still interest in creating an aviation heritage museum in Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. hangar, but they are currently experiencing financial difficulties.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at

Text Only
Local News
  •  Easter grass Easter grass

    Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Business community wary of minimum wage increases

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

    April 20, 2014

  • Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action

    ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.

    April 20, 2014

  • Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate

    CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
    “Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.

    April 20, 2014

  • Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

    ANNAPOLIS — Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.

    April 20, 2014

  • Allegany County emergency medical services honorees and supporters Allegany, Garrett emergency responders honored

    MCHENRY — The 75 people from Allegany and Garrett counties who were involved with two exceptional emergency medical services calls in 2013 were presented with awards at the recent Night for Stars program held at the Wisp Resort.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lexis Trickett meets with Gov. Martin O’Malley Ninth-grader among 30 at inaugural event

    OAKLAND — Lexis Trickett, a ninth-grade student at Southern Garrett High School, was among 30 girls who attended Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Leadership Forum for Women and Girls recently in Annapolis in celebration of Women’s History Month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • School immunization requirements change

    CUMBERLAND — Changes to school immunization requirements by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the next school year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians