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Polk-Hardee Airport Plan May Fly

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Polk-Hardee Airport Plan May Fly

By Tom Palmer

The Ledger

LAKELAND -- Plans for a proposed $850 million cargo airport straddling the Polk-Hardee line will be unveiled this week for the Florida Regional Planning Council.

The Florida International Airport will require a lengthy review by regional planners, centered on the impact of the mega-development in a relatively undeveloped part of the state, said Doug Leonard, the planning council's executive director.

The area north of State Road 62 and east of State Road 37 lies miles from any major city and is served by a sparse network of two-lane rural roads. The airport site lies primarily on land that has been mined for phosphate.

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration also must review the project, Leonard said.

"I think (the developers) are serious, and they're going through the approval process," he said.

John Reed, a representative for the group of investors called the Van Fleet International Airport Development Group, said the investors hope the project will spur economic development in Hardee and Polk counties.

In addition to the airport itself, the project would have warehousing and other light industrial development, office and commercial centers and residential development.

Van Fleet has acquired an option on 22,443 acres of reclaimed phosphate land -- 13,092 acres in Hardee and 9,351 acres in Polk -- owned by Mosaic.

The project was proposed in 2003 by Van Fleet, which has offices in Wauchula and St. Petersburg.

It the latest major airport proposal for the area.

In 2000, Neil Cosentino, the head of a Tampa think tank, announced plans to build a major airport to accommodate jumbo jets on a 41,000-acre site near the Van Fleet site. Nothing came of that proposal.

The Regional Planning Council meets Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Magnolia Building, 702 E. Orange St.

Tom Palmer can be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7535.

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Thanks for posting Lakelander. I have some Hardee roots so I've been on the lookout for more information about this but it's been slow in coming. I make it up there a few times a year so will try to get some more info. Most people there don't seem to care one way or the other about it. My only concern is sprawl overtaking one of my favorite spots in the state. Hardee County is nothing but oranges, cows and some vegetable farms, they could use an economic boost, but at what cost?

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I think the general location, environmentally wise, will be fine. Mainly because that section of Hardee and Polk are nothing but left over wasteland from early phosphate mining operations.

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Oh I agree with that.  It's the highways and potential sprawl I see coming from this that  worries me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Lol itll be years until considerable sprawl happens there plus who cares they are in the middle of nowhere

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sprawl is already starting to eat into some places in the heartland: lakeland is expanding, Winter haven is growing, sebring is spreading out. Trailer park golf communities are becoming more and more popular on highway 17.

the fact that they're the middle of nowhere is exactly why potential sprawl there scares me.

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A coworker and I were discussing this project the other day. He felt the new airport would, or at any rate should, be stressed and designed to accomodate the A380, since it is highly unlikely MCL, JAX, or TPA will ever be able to, and I understand MIA is up in the air (space is quite limited there and I don't know that the airport will be able to reconfigure itself to accept the new jet).

If this airport were to be built for the A380, is it not quite likely that significant infrastructure would be put in nearby to make this the long-haul destination for all of Florida? And wouldn't that then be the cause of new sprawl and whanot?

Not sure what to think about the whole situation, myself, but it did seem an interesting thought.

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Hmmm... my understanding was that MIA is already, or very close to being, A380-capable. The newest runway is 200 feet wide, and the remaining three are 150 feet. What type of runway dimensions would an A380 need?

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^I'm not sure, but I think this plane also will affect aprons, airport terminal layouts and designs, as well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The FAA has not issued a decision on runway widths for the A380. The standard runway width for commercial airports is 150'. The FAA may require 200'.

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A coworker and I were discussing this project the other day.  He felt the new airport would, or at any rate should, be stressed and designed to accomodate the A380, since it is highly unlikely MCL, JAX, or TPA will ever be able to, and I understand MIA is up in the air (space is quite limited there and I don't know that the airport will be able to reconfigure itself to accept the new jet). 

If this airport were to be built for the A380, is it not quite likely that significant infrastructure would be put in nearby to make this the long-haul destination for all of Florida?  And wouldn't that then be the cause of new sprawl and whanot?

Not sure what to think about the whole situation, myself, but it did seem an interesting thought.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

MCO will be able to accomodate the A380, at least with the new terminal/ runways that will be built in the next few years

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MCO's runways are already handle the A380 and there are currently no plans for any new runways or major runway improvements. As MCO was originally an air force base, 18R/36L and 18L/36R were designed to handle extremely heavy military planes, thus the reason for them being 200 feet wide and 12,000 feet long. The major issues in being able to accept A380's in Orlando are the taxiways and terminal design, but these issues will be addressed in future landside improvements and new terminals. Though there isn't much demand for jumbo's at MCO, it is thought that Virgin Atlantic may be the first to bring the big bird to Orlando.

Miami International, on the other hand is slated to be one of the few airports that will be able to accomodate the A380 soon after scheduled operation begins in 2007. It is believed that Air France will be the first to fly the A380 to MIA, arriving from Charles de Gaulle.

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