12 On Your Side: Twin Lakes Air Park runway set to close

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- A neighborhood of local pilots is being grounded after a court order.

Twin Lakes Air Park is more than just home to John Shea -- it is also his livelihood.

"I make my living here. I have for 24 years. I work on airplanes, and if you can't land airplanes here, you can't get them here to work on," Shea said.

The runway is set to close Dec. 7.

Six years ago, the owners of the runway, S-17 Owners Association, repaved the surface without getting the proper permits. County officials fined S-17 a thousand dollars a day when they found out about the problem.

Last month, S-17 Owners Associations accepted a plea deal that included closing the runway.

"Our business will be closed and everything so we will just live here and we have to adjust our lifestyle accordingly," Shea said.

Shea isn't the only one wondering how he'll make ends meet after Dec. 7. Most of the Twin Lakes community relies on aviation, too.

"Yeah its going to be a different world we live in. I may have to be a Walmart greeter or something," Shea said.

According to the plea agreement, the runway could reopen if the S-17 applies and pays for the proper permits through Aiken County. However, the group is also dealing with a foreclosure issue, so it's still unsure if they will pursue the permits.

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