Airport events promisingPublished 4:30pm Monday, October 28, 2013
Things are looking up for the city-owned Warren Field Airport.
Although some people believe the city would be better off without owning the airport, others see it as an economic-development tool that can help the city proposer. Put us in that group.
Not only is the city building a new terminal building at the airport to replace the one destroyed by a gustnado July 2012, it’s seeking funds to help improve and lengthen runway 5-23. The city’s 2014-2020 transportation improvement plan for the airport calls for spending just more than $8 million during that period. Most of that money would come from the state, with the city responsible for providing some funds to help pay for the plan’s projects.
The plan calls for spending $2.23 million to build an overlay for runway 5-23 and rehabilitate the runway’s pavement. It also calls for spending $2.035 million to extend the runway by 600 feet. The plan recommends spending $650,000 to design and build a new maintenance hangar and spending $560,000 for a new six-unit T hangar. The plan also recommends spending $500,000 for approach lights for runway 5 to improve visibility minimums.
The improvements will help make the airport more attractive to private pilots and others who may be interested in using the airport for business reasons. And there are entities looking at the airport as a place to base businesses.
During its meeting last night, the Washington City Council was to consider a proposal by Metro Aviation Inc. to operate an air medical service from Warren Field Airport and serve as the airport’s nonexclusive fixed-base operator.
The council also was to consider authorizing the city manager to sign a five-year agreement for Skydive Little Washington LLC to operate a jump school at the airport.
John Hayes and Ingrid Stephan met with the Airport Advisory Board to answer questions about the jump school. The board recommended they be allowed to operate the jump school out of the terminal annex building, for now. The school’s drop zone would be the overflowing parking lot at the McConnell Sports Complex on Airport Road.
Both businesses would pay rent for using the airport. They would also spend money on local services and supplies. That means other local businesses would benefit from their presence at the airport.
Let’s hope the improvements and new businesses help the airport take off toward a better future.