A Sedgwick County commissioner running for re-election is making a presentation to her colleagues the public this morning about her idea to jumpstart the area’s economy by getting into the personal aircraft industry.
She said anyone who can use a cell phone can operate such aircraft.
Commissioner Gwen Welshimer said no place is better suited to engineer and build planes that can fold up and be stored in a garage than the Air Capitol of the World.
With the area suffering hundreds of layoffs in recent weeks, Welshimer said it’s time to “walk through new doors.”
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A Democrat, Welshimer said the community needs to think ahead to its future.
“These are not normal times. Can we be innovative in Sedgwick County?” she asked.
Welshimer requested that the county’s communications department send out copies of her plan to the media.
Commissioner Kelly Parks said even new subdivisions are thinking about putting in runways at houses. He said Welshimer was ahead of her time. He said it was a great idea for the county to “get in on the ground floor” of the industry.
He said it’s a good thing that Comcare, the county’s mental health agency, didn’t exist when the Wright Brothers were innovating because people thought they were “crazy” too.
“I think the work Commissioner Welshimer has done on this is great,” Parks said.
Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said the county needs to create a positive environment for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. He said it’s not government’s skill set to pick “losers and winners.”