SEBRING - A step toward a Sebring Regional Airport plan that could one day bring in new jobs is scheduled at tonight's Sebring City Council meeting.
The Council is expected to consider designating some land between Kenilworth Boulevard and U.S. 98 as mitigation land for the use of some other wetland area as part of airport projects, as well as transfer of ownership of the land.
Any change in the designation or ownership of airport land must be approved by the Sebring City Council, City Administrator Scott Noethlich said.
The airport is seeking the designation because it's in the final stages of obtaining permits for several projects, including:
Catalyst project -- A 100-acre site aimed at attracting life science, bio fuel-alternative energy manufacturers and medical device and pharmaceutical research development companies.
Carroll Shelby Drive realignment project --- The work is aimed at providing access to the land where those companies would be located.
Commerce Park project -- A 128-acre site that would be developed as an aviation-related commerce park with some lots having access to the airfield.
Taxiway Bravo project --- The project would connect the airfield to Commerce Park.
Stephen C. Weeks, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority/Economic Development Commission, said having the land approved for those purposes will boost efforts to bring in new businesses and industry.
"We move quickly as we go after (businesses), so it's important we have a lot of the stuff we need in place for them," Weeks said.
But officials gave no indication of when they hope to get final approval for the airport projects.
Those projects involve 7.09 acres of wetlands, officials said. The designation of other lands for wetlands preservation is being proposed to help get the permits.
Airport officials told the city that the land being proposed as mitigation land is undevelopable and that using that area will save the airport from having to buy wetlands areas.
Eventually, the lands would be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.