BEDFORD Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- Liberty University is looking to expand its airport in Bedford County.
Officials say it would be one of the largest rezonings in the County in a decade.
The New London Airport was built in 1957 as a drag strip with airport operations added four years later.
Liberty University bought the airport in 2015 for $1.8 million, and now, they’re looking to expand. “[A] new runway at the property, they want to bring the school of Aeronautics down there,” explained Jordan Mitchell, the Bedford County Planner.
Mitchell says LU has been purchasing surrounding properties and wants to rezone the nearly 468 acres. “It’s a big deal,” Mitchell added.
The proposal would bring LU’s School or Aeronautic, currently stationed at the Lynchburg Regional Airport, to the New London Airport.
It’s a proposal that not everyone is on board with. “The noise factor, the plane, the additional traffic on the road,” explained Don Morcom who has lived near the New London Airport for 16 years.
He says having more air traffic could bring down the property value of his home. “You don’t’ see a lot of development around airports, for one reason… people don’t want to be around all that noise,” Morcom said.
Others have even started an online petition to stop the project.
But some, “Yes, I think it’s a very good idea,” exclaimed Olivia Fuller a Training Pilot in the Navy.
Fuller flies her airplane out of New London.
She says expanding it will help revive the dying airport. “The more they can put into it, the more traffic we’ll get in here and it’ll be alive again,” Fuller said.
A spokesperson for Liberty University said no officials at the university were available to discuss the project before the public hearing.
That is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
County Leaders say they want the community to come out and share their thoughts on the project.