BERRYVILLE -- The rapidly growing deer population in Carroll County and other parts of the country is not excluding airports from their visits.
"The runway as you can clearly see right now is being overrun by various wildlife," said Carroll County Airport Commission Chairman Dave Teigen, as six to eight deer ran across the west end of the runway. "It's problematic and I don't want to have to rid our facility of any deer."
The wildlife situation has been a growing epidemic for about the past four months.
The commission is looking into installing perimeter fencing in order to keep the animals out.
"Some nearby residents are even feeding the animals," Teigen said. "We already had a turkey fly into the window of a plane that was landing. This is getting very dangerous."
The project's final plans and specifications are scheduled to be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Sunday, April 15.
"This is when we turn in the information on the grant that we are obtaining for the project," said Airport Manager Sheila Evans.
Right now, the commission is still deliberating on what size fence would be appropriate, Evans said.
"We're still trying to figure out which way to go on this," she said. "There may be areas that need to be managed, such as clearing and dirt work. The land around here is from one end of the spectrum to the other."
One plan calls for replacing the existing fence with a seven-foot chain link with a barbed-wire arm.
The other would be to install a six-foot chain link in some areas, with motorized gates and/or double swing gates, which are not commonly used.
"The feds want chain link at all airports," Teigen said.
The issue began last year, Evans said, but there is no clear remedy.
"There are 91 airports in the state and the majority of them have the appropriate fencing, and yet some animals still get on the inside," she added.
In other business:
* The security system is up and running correctly.
"We now have our system up and running and all five cameras all working great," Evans said. "It's a super system and I can even access it from the facility smartphone."
* The commission is still working on a high-end model aircraft display.
"These are museum-quality model airplanes," Teigen said. "They could easily be in the Smithsonian."
He added that they are looking into placing the 125 models in cabinets near the front door.
* Evans has met with the regional and district manager of Enterprise Rent-a-Car in hope of having a satellite office at the airport.
"They (Enterprise) really like that idea," Evans said. "Right now they are arranging rentals with customers and bringing the car from Harrison," Evans said.
The amount of the facility's general liability is a determining factor in the progress of the project between the two operations.
"It took a while but I finally found out that our GL is $750,000," Evans said. "I really think we need to look at that because it's incredibly low for an airport."