Airpark calls for support to keep controllers at Alexandria airport

Story Courtesy of The Town Talk
Written by: Billy Gunn

The board that oversees England Airpark is asking Central Louisiana governments and agencies to adopt an airpark-written resolution that opposes Air Force plans to remove Louisiana Air National Guard 259th air traffic controllers from Alexandria International Airport.

The resolution's wording in part says the individual governments are on record "as supporting the continued existence and operation of the 259th Air Traffic Control unit" and that the "259th ATC support of Fort Polk and its critical training and deployment mission is essential to the successful future of Fort Polk."

Woodworth Mayor David Butler said his town adopted the resolution at a meeting Monday evening.

The England Economic and Industrial Development District -- commonly called the England Authority -- is requesting support from all governments in Rapides and Natchitoches parishes, the Vernon Parish Police Jury and city of Leesville, the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce and the Central Louisiana Economic Development Agency.

"We look forward to support from our Central Louisiana partners," said Jon Grafton, executive director of the England Authority. "Speaking with one voice gives (Louisiana's) congressional delegation the support needed for this important battle."

The Air Force in March told Alexandria airport officials and the Louisiana National Guard about plans to disband the Guard's 259th air controllers squadron and send the 110-airman unit to other U.S. bases.

The England Authority on Monday started making the Air Force plans public to build support against the move.

The 259th is based at Camp Beauregard in Pineville.