Frequently Asked Questions


1. Who are the board members of the SCRAA?

David Barnes, Pella
Pam Blomgren, Oskaloosa
Jim Hansen (Chair), Oskaloosa
Donna Smith, Pella
Steve Van Wheelden, Pella
Joe Warrick, Mahaska County

Staff members include Mike Nardini, Pella City Administrator and Mike Schrock, Oskaloosa City Manager.

2. Who appointed the SCRAA members?

In May and June 2012, the Pella City Council, Oskaloosa City Council, and Mahaska County Board of Supervisors appointed members. The SCRAA board meetings began in June 2012.

3. Who can I contact with questions or for more information?

The SCRAA Chairman is Jim Hansen (641.673.0411). Questions can also be directed the City Administrator of Pella Mike Nardini (641.628.4173), the City Manager of Oskaloosa Mike Schrock (641.673.9431) or any agency member. This SCRAA website will be regularly updated. Use our contact form to ask questions and be automatically contacted with upcoming meeting notices.

4. Who did the SCRAA board hire as a consultant on the regional airport?

Engineering firm interviews took place in Pella in August 2012 and a resolution approving a contract with Snyder & Associates took place in October 2012 at the SCRAA meeting held in Oskaloosa.

5. Who is responsible for the development of the Regional Airport?

In July 2010, Oskaloosa and Pella began to work jointly on regional transportation projects which included discussion about a regional airport to meet regional needs. Public council meetings and public county supervisor meetings where a regional airport was discussed. In March 2012, Oskaloosa, Pella, and Mahaska County all unanimously approved a 28E Agreement forming a public agency, the South Central Regional Airport Agency (SCRAA) which is responsible for ushering the evaluation, construction, and operations of a regional airport on behalf of the City of Oskaloosa, City of Pella, and Mahaska County.

6. Who is paying for the FAA planning studies required for the project?

90% of these costs will be paid by the FAA, the other 10% will be split between the cities of Oskaloosa and Pella.

7. Who is paying for this new airport?

It is expected that up to 90% of the eligible airside costs will be paid by the FAA. Landside costs (known as “vertical” costs, i.e., the terminal, roads, parking, hangars, etc.) will be paid through a combination of public and private investment. City investment in this project is expected to come from the sale of the current airports.

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1. What is eminent domain and will it be used?

Eminent Domain is a method by which local government may force the sale of private land for public use. It will only be used as a last resort on this project. We anticipate reaching voluntary agreements with the impacted landowners. For further information, please see Land Acquisition for Public Airports [PDF].

2. What are my rights as a property owner?

See the Statement of Property Owner Rights [PDF].

What will regional airport construction costs be?

Phase I (Primary runway of 5,500 feet with future expansion capability of 7,000 feet, land acquisition, the terminal building, t-hangers equivalent to existing sites, FBO facilities, etc.) is estimated to cost between $24-$30 million.

4. What process was and is used for public notification?

Public notice of our meetings is governed by Iowa law. In addition, the Board has used local media, websites and social media to notify the public of meetings.

5. What is a 28E agreement?

In 2012, the parties worked cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration to draft a 28E agreement, a document that legally solidifies the parties’ intent to move forward with the evaluation and construction of a regional airport facility. The 28E agreement outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities for the joint acquisition, construction, equipping, use, expansion, and operation of an airport facility. The 28E agreement also established the SCRAA which is a separate legal entity that is directed by its Board of Directors.  “28E” is a reference to the Iowa Code Chapter that governs these agreements.

6. What are the different timelines involved (studies, land acquisition, construction)?

See the Action Plan [PDF].

7. What is the difference between a Category B and Category C airport?

The difference involves the approach speed, wingspan, size and speed of the aircraft that are allowed to land at the facility.

8. What criteria will be used to determine which potential site is selected?

The Board will use over 35 criteria to select the primary and secondary sites.

9. What happens to the existing airports?

The FAA will require the closure of the Pella and Oskaloosa airports. The land will be sold and the proceeds will go to the project.

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1. When did Pella, Oskaloosa, and Mahaska County begin discussions about working together?


2. When was a cost analysis done?

This project has been categorized as a “safety & standards project” by the FAA.  As such, it is given priority for development.  A cost benefit analysis is not required by the FAA for such projects.

3. When was the 28E agreement signed?

All parties signed the 28E agreement [PDF] in March 2012, and the signed agreement was filed with Secretary of State Matt Schultz on March 29, 2012.

4. When will construction begin?

See the Action Plan [PDF].

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1. Where will the airport be built?

A primary and secondary site will be determined by June, 2013. Once various studies are completed, the final site will be determined and land acquired. We currently anticipate construction to begin in 2019.

2. Where can I find current information?

Information is posted on this website, Also, follow our Facebook page for updates.

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1. Why can't Pella expand its airport?

Due to significant site constraints abutting and adjacent to the Pella Municipal Airport, previous analyses have concluded it is not economically feasible to upgrade this airport to a Category C level.

2. Why can’t Oskaloosa expand its airport?

Currently, the Oskaloosa airport does not produce enough itinerant operations to justify expansion.  In addition, expansion of the Oskaloosa airport would not effectively meet the needs of the Pella users.

3. Why can’t Oskaloosa just keep their airport and Pella keep their airport and let businesses use Ottumwa or Newton airports if their planes are too big?

Although the Pella airport is currently designed to Category B standards, the FAA provides Category C approaches for use by Category C aircraft to land there.  The Category C approaches are not guaranteed and the FAA could revoke them at any time.  Therefore, Pella, Mahaska County, and Oskaloosa, with the support of the FAA, are proposing a new airport which meets Category C design standards.  It is also important to note that Oskaloosa,  Mahaska County, and Pella believe a new regional airport will help promote economic development for the entire region.  These public entities recognize the importance of supporting local business that use these facilities and providing an airport that will meet both current and future needs.

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1. How many sites were initially considered for placement of the Regional Airport?

Nine sites were identified by Snyder and Associates as potential Regional Airport sites. The site study was conducted between October 2012 and May 2013. Thirty-two different criteria (airspace restrictions, property impacts, century farms, road disconnects, relocations, runway expansion, access to Highway 163, etc.) were used to rate the different sites, and three were approved by SCRAA board to submit to the FAA for preliminary approval.

2. How do I find out more information?

Continue to monitor this website, Also, follow our Facebook page for updates.

3. How do you publicize meeting dates and times?

Meeting times and places will continue to be posted as required by law, but will also be made available via the news and social media, including the SCRAA Facebook page.

4. How much do SCRAA members get paid?

Nothing. This is a volunteer board.

5. How will my land be valued if I happen to own land in the selected airport site?

Refer to the Land Acquisition for Public Airports [PDF] flyer.

6. How much will my taxes go up when the regional airport is built?

Although we can’t be certain, we do not expect county taxes to go up at all. Per the terms of the 28E Agreement, Mahaska County is not financially liable in any way for this airport.

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