Everything You Need To Know About the Paulding County Airport & Silver Comet Field
A Brief Overview:
In 1972, the City of Atlanta purchased 10,000+ acres of land in Paulding County for the sole and publicly declared purpose of building a secondary, regional airport as an extension of what we now know as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. To this date, the City of Atlanta remains the single largest land-owner in Paulding County, by a lot. The airport would have been owned and operated by the City of Atlanta.
Part of the purchase agreement included a 40-year first right of refusal; in short, if the City of Atlanta opted to do anything with that 10,000+ acres other than build an airport prior to the first right of refusal expiration, the sellers essentially have the right to refuse Atlanta’s plans and purchase the land back. That first right of refusal is important, because it expires in 2022. After much research and hearing from both sides of this issue, I personally believe the games being played at our expense have a lot to do with delaying the airport’s success and development in order to pass that date, and I am greatly concerned about what might be in their plans come January 2022. Further, the development of HB 930 (aka: the “MARTA Expansion Bill”) and the fact that Silver Comet Trail is owned by the state and operated under a Temporary Use Permit leads me to suspect Amazon is very much in play for that property, and it makes sense that Atlanta and/or Delta wouldn’t want the competition from Silver Comet Field (with or without Amazon) as they benefit quite handily from their current monopoly. That’s partially why the city of Atlanta has threatened legal action against Paulding in the past, saying commercialization is a threat to Harstfield-Jackson International Airport. Really? A modest airport with a single runway and a tiny terminal is a threat to “the busiest airport in the world”? C’mon. Let’s get real. Silver Comet Field is a relatively small airport with infrastructure capable of serving only a few flights per day. All the fear-mongering about it becoming another “Tampa International” or “Hartsfield-Jackson” is beyond exaggeration and hyperbole; it’s a flat out lie and an attempt to mislead the general public by capitalizing on fear.
By the time the airport opened in 2008 we were experiencing a recession. While I wasn’t in the room when these discussions were happening, it’s clear to me that decisions were made because we needed to attract new business to the County, and airport development and commercial service made use of one of the County’s most valuable assets. Its easy to understand that a low cost airline service would attract people from Paulding and surrounding counties and encourage them to spend money within our community, contributing to our local economy. The resulting sales tax, and any taxes paid by businesses that locate in Paulding as a result of the airport will help increase our sales tax and commercial tax bases, which can be used to better our schools, roads, parks and public safety. That said, I recognize nothing “shady” or secretive happened, and everything was legal, but I still would’ve have recommended a ballot measure had I been a commissioner back then. This is a major decision that impacts the community in more ways than one. And that’s why I’ve proposed, if elected, I will do all I can to invest in a future where we move forward together. I will work with my colleagues on the BOC, whoever they are, to put the airport issue out in the open, in the public, with a clearly defined process for informing and educating everyone over a 12-24 month period, followed by a clear and final ballot referendum that puts this clearly behind us, once and for all. (MUST READ: “Why Paulding County is Broken“)
Check this page soon – as I will be uploading/adding multiple documents and resources here when I have more time.