Rosecrans

A lease agreement with the 139th Airlift Wing could be extended for 50 years at Rosecrans Memorial Airport.

Predicting future developments of aircraft is nearly impossible. However, one thing is almost certain for the next 50 years: The airport in St. Joseph still will be on the western side of the Missouri River.

Rosecrans Memorial Airport is one part civilian and one part military, and next week the St. Joseph City Council will be voting on an ordinance containing a new lease agreement with the Missouri Air National Guard.

The agreement includes the relocation of the 139th’s military facilities to the northeastern property of the airfields.

“It’ll get that expansion going to the north, so they’ll be able to build hangars and have a spot for the C-130s to park,” said Abe Forney, Rosecrans Memorial Airport general manager.

The lease renewal would last until the year 2070 if it is passed, and the move helps protect the 139th from future flooding.

The majority of the levee system around St. Joseph that protects the city was raised after a flood in 1993 showed the need for the project. In 2019, the flooding on the Missouri River broke the record in St. Joseph for the highest crest ever recorded, but the airport didn’t flood.

The guard moving to the north side of the base creates an opportunity for other development to come into Rosecrans and potentially take over the guard’s current facilities on the south side.

“Any corporation that works with large aviation aircraft or works with the military, for instance a Boeing or Lockheed Martin … is what we would like to use those buildings for,” Forney said.

The Rosecrans airfield is currently in its third location. First it was located at Lake Contrary, then it moved to the French Bottoms near the Remington Nature Center.

The diner at the airport reopened this month after closing earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Hennessy can be reached at ryan.hennessy@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowHennessy.