Arnold Palmer Airport's Growing Pains

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Making for the last (hopefully) hurdle to a proposed runway extension, an environmental issue is slowing Arnold Palmer Regional Airport's plan for expansion. A recently finished yearlong environmental assessment cited "two areas that had a potential for impact" -- a small wetland and potential archaeological site now confront the Westmoreland County Airport Authority's plan. The authority proposes shifting the landing zone for the 7,000-foot-long primary runway 1,525 feet south and extending the strip by the same distance on its southern end. Meanwhile, 300 feet of runway on the northern end will be closed, bringing the total runway length to 8,225 feet. The wetland covers less than an acre within the project area, which requires the filing of mitigation permits from state and perhaps some federal regulatory agencies. The potential archaeological site may ultimately simply be fenced off.