Susan Byrd, a local insurance agent, also sees a bright future. She said most of her friends in her Dallas neighborhood do not have a problem with the possibility of a small, passenger airline serving the airport.
“It’s fantastic for our county,” she said. “I think it will increase jobs and opportunities.”
A New York-based developer has plans for limited passenger service to the airport as part of a broader plan to develop adjacent land for aerospace-related industries.
Byrd said many of her friends have said they would like the chance to catch flights in Paulding, rather than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, to resort destinations.
Reinhart is among what he calls the “silent majority” supporting commercialization of Silver Comet Field, located off Rockmart Highway about six miles west of Dallas.
He said he felt more were supporting airport commercialization based on the fact his Facebook page, “Support Silver Comet Field at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport,” has received three times the number of “likes” in three months compared to an opposition Facebook page.
Area state and county leaders may be mistaken if they gauge community feelings about proposed commercialization based on how many speak at public meetings, he said.
“Most politicians, if they don’t hear from you, they assume they’re doing the right thing,” Reinhart said.
Reinhart recalled he bought his home about three miles from the airport in 2009, amid rumors FedEx was considering using it as a base of operations. The rumors never materialized.
“I thought [the airport] was the greatest asset, but it was underutilized,” he said. “It costs [taxpayers] to maintain it.”
A contract manager for a construction company, Reinhart commutes almost two hours each way from Paulding to Alpharetta for work. He said Paulding has seen little job growth since the beginning of the recession in 2008, when the resulting fallout dropped home values.
He said he would understand opposition to commercialization of the airport if a rumored 25 flights a day and plans for an airport the size of Hartsfield-Jackson were true. However, he said it physically could not handle more than about two flights a day.
“There’s nowhere for you to expand,” Reinhart said.