Original Print August, 2012
It has come to our attention that there is a "Joyce Park Master Plan" in the works which could directly affect our flying facility. The plans at full capacity would eliminate the flying field.
There is a city council meeting this Wednesday August 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held at 345 High Street Hamilton, Ohio 45011.
It is imperative that we have a strong presence there to make city council aware of our presence, value and history. Go to work right now making a list of benefits our facility, organization and the AMA provide to the Tri-State, Butler County and the City of Hamilton.
Send the list and your comments to us or show in person Wednesday and speak in turn with us.
Each speaker will be required to sign in and be given 5 minutes per the counsel rules.
UPDATE Monday 8-20-2012
I spoke with Mr. Rich Engle today. Mr. Engle informed me that this is still a concept plan at this point. He did say that the city park board is in favor of it. It now goes to city council for approval in part or in full. There is a possibility of course it could all be approved. It is also possible only a part or none will be approved. If any approval is granted the next step will be cost assessment for each part or phase. No costs have been presented yet for this project.
Mr. Engle feels that the project on the south side of Joe Knuxhall way (Joyce Park phase 1 and phase 2) could begin as early as this fall. He does not believe the north side continuation would have any specific time frame.
The park board recognizes we offer value to the community. We are now tasked with documenting that and raising awareness of it.
The relocation of the Hawks by the city or the county has been brought up in meetings between the city park board and the Butler County Visitors Bureau. This was done in the event that the plan does some day progress to full capacity. However there is no piece of land in mind for our relocation yet in that case. The good news is, I was told specifically today that the city would NOT "just boot us out". They would hold until we have somewhere to go. I pray that this remains the case.
We are still attending the council meeting Wednesday to begin our "awareness" campaign and learn the council decision(s).
Mr. Rich Engle inquired to us about the necessary land area and space that we required for the airfields. The Hawks board met and agreed upon mockup images from Google Earth. These images were then used to measure the area that we currently occupy and use for safety buffers. The areas measured out at a combined total of 95 Acres. The images were then emailed to Mr. Engle with an explanation of the usages. Those images can be found here on this website in the aerial photos gallery. The images are named: airfield_10142012 and helifield_10142012.
Update November, 2012
Rich Engle promised the Hawks would be invited to a consulting meeting in January 2013.
Update February 19, 2013
Per President Larry Labrie: The meeting for the JP Master Plan has been moved to mid March. No specific date . We are still invited.
The plan is divided into two sections now. Our land is shown on the "Joe Knuxhall Master Plan".
We both felt a lot better about our field situation and our future at Joyce Park after the meeting. We had a good meeting and had several opportunities to voice our opinions and questions. The spokesman from the Visitors Bureau made the point that, "this JP Master Plan is just an idea and years and millions of dollars away from maturity." Several other people spoke on behalf of there activities, soccer, baseball, football, archery, etc.
The engineering group making the presentation stated that they were aware of the environmental and EPA issues related to our area. They even had pictures of our parking lot showing the settling and the puddles. However, we did reemphasize that this was not just an isolated settling issue but a major problem that covered the entire area and consisted of thousands of sink holes. This was supported by the pictures we showed them. We also pointed out that the parking lot they were looking at had been properly filled in, graded and rolled prior to laying the asphalt and it still settled. They were very receptive to our input.
There were several city council members at the meeting and one of them was asking some very direct and favorable questions about the flying field. After the meeting ended and he was leaving he came up to me and said, "don't worry, you guys aren't going anywhere." We also met one other council member that was very pro flying field. He said we need to keep the flying field for its diversity and uniqueness. He also stated that he wanted to come out to the field and look at the area for himself. I said anytime, we would be glad to give him a tour.
At the end of the meeting I asked the city representative if he could give us a time line as to when anything might happen at our field. He said definitely nothing in the next year and maybe longer.
This plan is just a plan, a malleable changeable concept that has no set in stone path. It is at the very beginning of it's process and has a long way to go before it reaches us, if it ever does. The city will only take 30% of this concept and make cost assessments for that 30%. Then they will decide how to move forward (funding) and when. There will be another meeting in about four months. I think we are safe for quite awhile.