Rendering provided by whyprivatizebriscoe.com
LAWRENCEVILLE — Propeller Airports — the company that has talked about bringing commercial passenger service to Briscoe Field — submitted the sole proposal to become a private partner for the Gwinnett County Airport.
Citing the county’s purchasing rules on discretion, Propeller’s Brett Smith said he could not give details on the boxes of information turned over to the county to be considered for the privatization program
But for three years the company has touted a potential economic boon for investing in the small general aviation field in Lawrenceville.
Many people in the surrounding community have expressed concerns that commercial flights could bring traffic, noise, pollution and other issues, causing commissioners to cautiously move forward with the process and name a citizens group to study the airport’s future.
“Our intention would not be to do something to harm another person,” Smith said, adding that he was glad to finally submit a proposal.
After a now-defunct qualifications process had drawn three companies, Smith said he wasn’t sure how to feel about being the only company to submit paperwork in the current process.
“We hope that we put a sufficient proposal together that makes sense for the residents, and that’s up for the Board of Commissioners to decide,” Smith said. “I’m glad that we got a chance for the county to get a look at the proposal.”
Jim Regan, who has organized opposition to the commercial plans as part of Citizens for a Better Gwinnett, said the lack of interest from other companies may prove privatization isn’t a great idea.
“To me, it’s kind of indicative of the risk that’s been proposed,” he said. “It seems to heighten the risk when you just have one bidder.”
Based on advice from a consultant, commissioners stipulated in the request for proposals that companies submit based on continuing the airport as a general operation field but allowed a description of future plans.
Regan pointed out that Propeller officials said in the past they would not be interested in running the airport without commercial flights.
“I’m kind of at a loss as to how the county plans to go forward at this point,” he said. “If it were a really good thing, there would have been more than one bidder.”
According to the county’s purchasing process, the proposal will be evaluated by officials before a recommendation is given to the Board of Commissioners.
While no deadline has been set for the board to consider the measure, commissioners gave the citizens advisory board a deadline of May 8 to complete its recommendations.