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Sun, Aug 07, 2005

'Something With A View'

Airpark In The Ozarks

"I've been in aviation all my life," Jim Collom, developer of Holley Mountain Airpark, proudly recalled. "I've loved it since I was 3 years old. I went right out of high school into pilot's and mechanic's school in Waco, Texas." Jim graduated from Atlanta High in 1974.

Given this powerful affection, when Collom's spouse JoAnn told him a few years ago that she wanted "something with a view" for the site of their next home, the couple went flying to see what they could find. Business partners then as now, at that time the Colloms were owner/operators of a highly successful airframe business and decided that they wouldn't mind at all if the place had room for an airstrip.

They acquired a pristine chunk of Holley Mountain, located roughly 5 miles northeast of the City of Clinton in Van Buren County, Arkansas, and built their new home. Tastefully elegant with country-casual style, this happy story could have ended then. Instead, these initial plans blossomed, somewhat taking on a life of their own, into a burgeoning aviation community.

"My mother used to say that I have a 'one track mind'," Collom chuckled at the intentional play on words. "She may have been right," he grinned. "Once we decided to develop our homestead into an airpark, in the summer of '99, we moved 70,000 yards of dirt building the runway. We were looking at a five-year projection on paving the runway then, but we got it done in the first five months."

The gleaming 4800' x 50' "smooth as silk" lighted MIRL asphalt runway, located roughly 60 nautical miles north of Little Rock, Arkansas, takes center stage atop the Ozark mountains from which the airpark draws it's name. Outfitted with state-of-the-art multiple stage pilot operated runway lights, including PAPI lights, VASI lights, and Hali-Brite CD-600 REILs, RNAV / GPS Approaches to both Runway 5 and 23 are FAA approved.

Airpark grounds, now totaling 506 acres, are platted to offer about 100 two-acre to seven-acre home sites, each with taxiway frontage. Blacktopped and lighted taxiways meander through forested hills agape with awe-inspiring vistas. Amenities include underground utilities and gated entry, snuggled into dense hardwood and pine forests.

"Everybody told us we were crazy when we started," Jim remembered, emphasizing that the bottom line of doing the development had, from inception, not been to simply subdivide and sell property but to build a real community of families who choose to live as neighbors because they love to fly with friends.

The growing residential community sports 200 acres of beautiful wilderness, perfect for trail riding, hiking, horseback riding, berry-picking, 4-wheelering, and playing in the sparkling mountain stream. Other airpark amenities include a community postal center, it's own recently state-certified Volunteer Fire Department, and an annual fly-in/camp out event sponsored by the airpark property owner's association, called Holleyfest.

"It's just a lot easier to 'do it right' the first time," Jim summarized his personal life strategy. "And we're real proud of this place. It's like we've been saying since the day we decided to do this, we know where it's going and we're going to do it the best way possible. Good Lord willing, we will complete the plan."

FMI: www.HolleyMountainAirpark.com

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