No action was taken but information was discussed Thursday evening on the potential construction of a T-hanger to replace two older, aging hangars at the airport. Three members of the airport advisory committee, three city officials, and an engineer met with several pilots to review the planning and progress that’s been made.
The city has been looking at having a new hanger constructed to house eight planes. It was noted $560,000 has been allocated for airport projects by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Those funds, accumulated over the past four years, can be used for site work, however, federal funds can not be used for actual construction. It’s estimated that $700,000 would have to be borrowed for construction to take place.
In previous city council meetings, the idea was brought up to see if an individual or group of pilots would be interested in leasing the ground from the city and building the hangar. Upon further investigation, City Administrator Ron Urton says it appears there’s little interest in the pilots financing such a project. One pilot, Justin Bickel of Mercer had been asked to determine construction costs. Urton quoted him as indicating rent paid by the pilots would need to be about $300 per month.
Urton noted any new building would be a steel-framed, metal-sided structure with a concrete floor. This includes an electric overhead door with a remote opener; electrical outlets; and two LED lights per stall. It would be constructed to have the floor one foot above the high water mark experienced when the airport flooded in May last year.
The present hangars are wood-framed and described as over 50 years old and sliding doors are said to be difficult to open. Some of the stalls have gravel for floors. Airport flooding from heavy rains last year put over three feet of water in those hangars.
Urton anticipates a decision, in consultation with the pilots, will need to be made soon regarding site development and the potential hangar OR the city could lose it’s annual FAA credits allocation of $150,000 for airport work. If the city wants to keep the $150,000 credited to its account, a local match of ten percent, (or $15,000) will need to be spent by the city.
An engineer of Olsson and Associates has indicated the total cost for site development and hangar construction to be as much as one point three million dollars. $585,000 is the estimated cost of an eight-bay hangar.