NEW JERSEY 101.5

Improvements being done to Lakewood Airport in Ocean County are expected to meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements so the township can apply to have small jets return within a year.

Lakewood Airport (Photo courtesy of Township of Lakewood via lakewoodnj.gov)

Lakewood's Acting Township Manager Steve Reinman said jets used to fly into there years ago, until federal restrictions were placed on the facility because of environmental concerns.

He said an existing section of runway became overgrown with trees and shrubs, making that section of landing strip unsafe for pilots and passengers.  Recapturing the 500 to 600 feet of runway would allow Lakewood to reapply to the FAA.

The airport currently is limited to mostly commercial aircraft, such as helicopters and small private planes.

Residents have expressed concern over additional air traffic, but Reinman said the facility is bordered by an industrial park and a four-lane county-owned highway. Many fear the airport will become similar to busy airports such as Teterboro or Trenton-Mercer County. Reinman said Lakewood Airport doesn't have a runway of that size, and there's no way to get it unless they plow through a building.

Once the final phase of upgrades is completed, such as tree and shrub trimming and the removal of some fences, a post-project survey will be done and submitted to the FAA.

"In order to have the airport be a thriving resource in the town, and to be a resource to the business community around it, we need to recapture the resource that is there," Reinman said.