03/22/11 — City, base: Air show parking solved

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City, base: Air show parking solved

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 22, 2011 1:46 PM

Two weeks after Goldsboro City Council members forecast a "logistical nightmare" associated with finding some 27,000 parking spaces for April's two-day Wings Over Wayne Air Show, the board had little to say about the solution pitched by Interim City Manager Tasha Logan.

Most simply sat quietly and nodded their heads as the plan -- one mapped out last week during a closed meeting on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base -- was laid out.

"We feel that we have more than enough parking to handle the visitors that we expect to receive over those two days," Ms. Logan said before identifying the satellite and overflow parking areas the city would make available if the base should run out of on-site spaces.

The city, she said, would first provide parking at Greenwood Middle and Meadow Lane Elementary schools. And if additional parking is still needed, overflow lots would be created off Arrington Bridge Road.

"We are anticipating this event will go off smoothly," Ms. Logan said.

The board must have agreed.

In fact, only Mayor Al King and Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen commented after the manager's presentation.

"I think an awful lot of work has gone into making this work out," King said.

Allen agreed.

"It seems like everybody is talking to everybody," he said. "And we're on the same page."

Fears about a parking shortage were first expressed March 7, when 4th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Shawn Pederson said his goal was to attract more than 300,000 people to Wayne County April 16 and 17, making this year's Wings Over Wayne the best ever.

"We decided we wanted to go big -- that if we're going to do this, we wanted to do it right," he said at that meeting. "We're putting on something between a festival and an extravaganza."

Among the attractions, he added, will be the F15-E Strike Eagle Demonstration Team, the Air Force Thunderbirds, the Army Golden Knights and free concerts by country music stars Aaron Tippin and Tracy Lawrence.

"We're really, really excited about it," Pederson said. "It's going to be really, really good."

But for all that to happen, visitors would have to find some place to park their cars.

And Goldsboro police Capt. Al King, who is helping to coordinate the logistical efforts with Seymour Johnson, explained that the base would only be able to provide 20,000 parking spaces, leaving 25,000 to 27,000 more for the city to find.

The problem, he explained, is that while the city could find plenty of lots that could provide 20 spaces here, 100 spaces there, the real need is for a few large lots that the base's shuttle buses can easily service and that city employees and volunteers can easily staff.

Ms. Logan, though, feels like a solution has been found.

And from the lack of feedback they provided after her pitch, it seems clear that those who feared the city had a "logistical nightmare" on its hands are now satisfied.