Here is a compilation of news articles (and one email) from 2011 into early 2014:
Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.
Here’s a March 2016 field report, from a citizen concerned about FAA actions that are both wasteful and environmentally destructive. The impact area includes waterfowl habitat in rural Minnesota:
“Our council decided last July to suspend this project until operations warranted it. The FAA came along in September and said the city could do whatever it wanted, but FAA’s grant money for our land purchase would be withheld. We received $36,200 for our condemned land but the grant was for $139,000. Attorney and appraiser fees were around $25,000 and it appears the rest went to SEH Engineering, a pretty good fee for the sale of 9.5 acres.
With that financial burden the city voted in favor of moving forward again. SEH was given another $22,000 to redesign the runway to 30 feet less in width.
We were under the impression there would be another environmental review and hopefully an opportunity for public comment. The EA on the project was done in 2003 and considered outdated. I inquired about this with our city administrator last week as I hadn’t heard anything since September. He said the FAA environmental staff did their own review and passed the project. It will be let for bids in the next couple weeks.
The project destroys some endangered species (over 80 butternut trees), fills in wetlands, destroys wildlife habitat, ruins ag property, and will have over 30 oaks cut down. I believe some of these oaks stood here when the Wright brothers were alive.
It has been proven that the engineering estimates of ’67 operations per day’ were grossly overstated and a closer guess would be just 5 operations per day.
So, to sum up, an unneeded $1.5 million dollar turf runway (unlit and closed during the winter) is going to be built unless there’s a miracle. And this in spite of the fact that there are two other paved asphalt runways just 17 miles away, at Rush City and at Hinckley, and both are lit and available 24/7.”