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Jewel Turned To Dust
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Dear Editor,
For 14 years I have watched the Oakdale airport deteriorate from an active aviation operation to a dusty, forgotten airport with no future. When cities like Vacaville build a custom lake for a 150 employee aviation production company of sport sea planes that was tired of East coast weather; the lake, the land and buildings for production were made available. Oakdale has a ready-made lake at Woodward Reservoir. Oakdale nearing bankruptcy, allows a no sales tax, no payroll tax non-aviation real estate management company to use the airport buildings at half commercial rates, what is going on? Not only does Sierra West not do any physical aviation functions, an FAA violation threating future grant funds from the FED, it leaves the refuse of shipping containers lying around and fills one hangar with dishwashers, beds, and mattresses. The 20-plus year-old bone yard of airplane parts still looks like a junkyard. The idea that at least one building would be released for a true aviation business and the RFP to get an aviation tenant would move forward is a sham. Sierra West’s Barnes and Robinson seem to say, “We own this airport and we are not leaving.”
While Sierra does business in three airport commercial buildings without proper business licenses, the city could not resolve the only other large hangar and lost two or three years rent in the Metz squabble, now evolved in the form of two lawsuits. More losses are to come.
Weeds infiltrate the hangars on the North side, uncut. Tower lights, inoperative for over 10 years still not working after the FAA was informed of all the violations and council approved the $16,000 lighting upgrade. Tarmac patches are similar to the city’s worst streets, bad!
The income from the airport, always more than $10,000 per month must be taken from the city and placed with other management, like Stanislaus County. When will this town wake up and get the old vested landlords of Oakdale out of our life?
Bill Bradford