Panel On Airport’s Future Meets With U of I Chancellor
University of Illinois Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she’s ready to act quickly on the recommendations of a task force to boost the viability of Willard Airport.
Some of the panel’s suggestions include a modest increase in parking rates, a greater capacity to service larger planes, and a push for donations from nearby cities to help market the airport - and better compete with neighboring Bloomington and Peoria.
Former Champaign City Manager Steve Carter led the task force. He said the governments of Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and Champaign County might be asked to contribute a combined $250,000.
"But, you know, everyone’s still recovering from the recession," he said. "And so, that’s not necessarily an easy thing for them to do. And I think anybody would have to understand its value in order to make those contributions.”
Chancellor Wise said the top priority among the panel’s recommendations is hiring a CEO or management company to run the airport. But she said Willard will remain the property of the U of I.
The panel also recommends a ‘Fly Champaign-Urbana’ branding campaign that Wise said should launch soon.