ST. MARYS, Ga. – The commander of the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is asking the city of St. Marys to find a new home for the St. Mary's Airport.
Rear Adm. John C. Scorby Jr., who commands the base, has written to the mayor of St. Marys urging the city to relocate the small, general aviation airport because of its close proximity to the submarine base.
This comes after skydivers from the local skydiving business, The Jumping Place, landed illegally inside of the base in August, but the request is not new. The Navy has been asking for the airport to relocate ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011.
While most general aviation was allowed to resume a few days after the Sept. 11 attacks, St. Marys Airport was kept closed for nearly two months and the city was offered free land in the western portion of Camden County and there were efforts to receive construction funds from the Federal Aviation Administration, but those efforts were abandoned after a few years.
The city and the Navy are working together to resolve the issue.
"I think the Navy and their issue with relocating the airport is a bigger, longer term issue than the skydiving issue and it's one which the mayor and city council have been working on," said St. Marys City Manager Steven Crowell.
"Safety and security threats generated by operations at the St. Mary's airport predate the transformative September 11th, 2001 terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon," said Scorby.
Crowell said there is no definite time frame for relocation of the airport, and no word on who will fund the move.
"There's not an inconsistent position between the city and the Navy relating to the relocation of the airport, the timing issue is more important and that's something the city will be working through," said Crowell.