By Karla Florence Smith
Marie Mackenzie, whose term limit as a District 3 Arapahoe County commissioner has expired, was honored at her last Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, January 13.
At the meeting, preceding special recognition for Mackenzie, there were brief reports from three staff members of Centennial Airport. Nick Scott, operations specialist, gave the fuel and operations report. He reported that during 2004, there was a downward trend in local air traffic, but an increase in itinerant jet traffic, resulting in higher jet fuels sales, which has a higher profit margin than small plane fuel sales.
Michael Fronapfel, environmental planner and noise officer, gave the noise complaint report. He reported there were a total of 4,287 complaints during 2004, which was the “lowest number of complaints in a given year since 1996.” Fronapfel noted that the lower complaints might be attributed to the fact that takeoffs and landings at the airport were at a seven-year low, which could possibly be attributed to a slower economy.
Robert Olislagers, airport director, gave a legislative flight safety report. He reported that safety at Centennial Airport is above average and that during its 36-year history, there’s never been a “ground” fatality. He said that while there are accidents on and off the airport, the “most important thing to remember is that pilots will always look for an open space to land.”
Following the reports, there was special recognition for Mackenzie, who served both as a county commissioner and on the airport authority board for eight years, beginning with her first four-year term in 1997.
“We will miss your counsel, but we hope to see you often,” said Lynn Myers, Arapahoe County Commissioner and ACPAA chairman.
“I enjoyed the time I served as county commissioner and on the airport board,” said Mackenzie. “There were changes that occurred during my terms that were good changes. I feel like I made a difference.”
Mackenzie said it’s time for her to move on, focus on other areas of her life, and make room for someone else to make a difference in the community. On behalf of the airport staff, Olislagers presented Mackenzie with a framed panoramic photo of Centennial Airport taken by Terry Robinson. Additionally, he presented Mackenzie with a gift certificate to Arby’s, her “favorite restaurant.”
Following the meeting, a reception in Mackenzie’s honor was held at the Centennial Airport Holiday Inn. Mackenzie’s husband of 48 years, Jim, accompanied her to the reception.
During her eight years as a commissioner, Mackenzie was focused on and dedicated to long-range planning in the areas of transportation, land use, water and county services.