"Our airport is big enough to handle the city's needs," he said.
Russell said the airport has attracted new businesses, even with the uncertain future since the controversy began. And other new businesses interested in opening at the airport are waiting for the issue to be resolved before making a commitment.
"They can't do anything until they know where we're going," he said. "We've got an airport that is valuable to the community. We should not throw it away."
Jeff Stanford, the airport's fixed base operations manager, said he supported moving the airport to another location because of limited space and security concerns.
"The airport cannot thrive where it is," he said. "It's not like we're losing an airport."
Stanford said he was concerned about the impact a plane crash could have on the base.
"It's only a matter of time before a small aircraft crashes on base," he said.
Buczek said base officials are still concerned about security and the potential for a crash on base, but promised that officials at Kings Bay will continue to "work closely with the city."
One good result from the lengthy debate is the FAA-imposed air space restrictions that have reduced the potential for accidents or possible terrorist attacks on base, Buczek said.
Larry Ehrlich, a pilot for The Jumping Place, a skydiving business operating from the airport, said the decision will help the business grow. The business can move ahead with plans to build a hangar at the airport.
"We want to be a permanent fixture in the community," he said. "An airport is vital to a growing city. It's an excellent decision."
Recent vandalism could be prevented by security fence but military officials say the airport is a security threat to nearby submarine base.
Hurricanes, a Gulf Coast building boom and int'l demand for building materials were key factors in bringing the new 2005 estimate to $278 million.
Airport relocation is still feasible, but securing grant commitments, maintaining construction costs and schedules, and timing the sale of the existing airport are critical to any move.
Apr. 8--PANAMA CITY -- Artifacts dating back as far as 2000 B.C. will be a topic of discussion at an Airport Authority workshop set for Monday morning. In anticipation of the sale of the...