The Conway City Council decided to proceed with a Request for Proposals application for the sale of Cantrell Field, the city’s airport.

In an informal committee meeting on Tuesday, council members heard from City Engineer Ronnie Hall, who said the RFP would be "sweetened" if the city included a firm statement that an overpass over Interstate 40 would be part of the development of the property.

The city is hoping to recoup the balance of the cost of the new airport in Lollie Bottoms with funds from the sale of the 170 acres. A major portion of the cost of construction is paid through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Another discussion centered on deciding whether the city would enter into another Fixed Base Operation agreement or establish an airport commission with an airport manager and staff directed by the mayor and council.

Mayor Tab Townsell said the airport is considered a function of economic development and is often the first impression of visitors to the city.

Bill Cope, who has operated the airport for 13 years, said he will work with council members in the discussion as the decision is made.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at and 505-1234.)