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Grand Jury report finds Indian Wells Valley Airport District is essential to Kern County

Posted at 11:23 AM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 14:23:56-05

INYOKERN, Calif. — The Indian Wells Valley Airport District provided much-needed assistance and resources during the recent earthquakes and is essential to Kern County, a newly released grand jury report found.

The report, released Wednesday, found that during the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the Searles Valley and Ridgecrest areas in July 2019, the District was able to keep the Inyokern Airport open and operational, "providing aircraft landing and fuel for emergency services, the news media, as well as State and Federal officials."

"The Indian Wells Valley Water District also remained functional, suffering minimal damage while supplying needed water to the Airport for emergency services," the report said.

The jury also found that the district is essential due to the revenue it brings in from the filming industry.

  • Read the full report here:

"The Airport is an ideal location for film productions that require an open-air environment with an unobstructed natural background. Paved runways and taxiways can be used for ground vehicle and aircraft scenes, including high-speed operations. Outdoor sets of virtually any size can be constructed to meet filming needs. Some of the filming features include," the report said.

According to the report, in 2018-2019, the District had its largest film year in history at $464,000 in revenue. The report stated that normally, a good year would generate from $80,000 to $85,000.

"The benefits from the film industry are far more reaching," the report said.

The jury looked into the District’s Board of Directors, which currently consists of five members, with three seats up for re-election in November 2020. The jury found that in 2019, 12 monthly board meetings were scheduled, however, eight were canceled.

The jury recommended that the District hold regular monthly meetings, "as stated on their website", or change the by-laws to set meeting dates and times when all board members and the public can attend.

The District has 90 days to respond to the report.