010120_PNN_Airport_Meetings

The terminal building at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport near Dallas.

Paulding airport’s operating board has approved returning its meetings to its terminal building after a five-year absence because of safety concerns related to its former plan to allow commercial passenger flights.

The Paulding County Airport Authority voted last week to meet in 2020 on the third Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m. at the terminal building at the airport off U.S. Hwy. 278, also known as Rockmart Highway, in west Paulding.

The Authority has met in the Watson Government Building near downtown Dallas since 2014. The airport is located about six miles west of downtown Dallas.

Authority member Dan Nolan said he had no problem with meeting at the airport despite it being a longer distance to travel.

“We can’t properly govern the airport if we don’t see it on a regular basis,” Nolan said. “It’s fair to say folks in this room don’t get out there as often as they should. Once a month is not too much to ask if you’re going to volunteer your time on this board.”

Authority members moved their meetings in August 2014 as they considered a now-abandoned, controversial plan to seek approval for a federal designation allowing commercial passenger airline service to operate from the facility.

Former member David Austin — who was county commission chairman and a vocal supporter of commercial service — convinced the airport board to begin meeting at the government building after metal detectors manned by county marshals were installed there in 2015.

At the time, Austin and others said they needed a secured meeting location because of some audience members’ emotional reactions at meetings, as well as social media threats and criminal acts they attributed to opponents of commercial passenger airline service — which opponents denied.

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