Thursday, February 22, 2001
Steamboat Springs On Thursday afternoon, Airport Manager Matt Grow got a call from a plane owner who wanted to fly his plane into Steamboat Springs Airport and store it in a hangar. With the limited hangar space currently available at the airport, forcing some planes to sit out in front of the terminal, the plane owner was unlikely to find a spot.
"He wants to bring a citation jet here and wants to park it in a hangar and I can't guarantee it," Grow said.
That, however, may change relatively soon if some recent talks with a local service provider result in a new group of hangars being built at the airport.
City Council gave Grow the go-ahead Tuesday night to begin negotiations with Mountain Flight Services to try to put together a deal on hangar construction and possible renovations to the terminal building. Mountain Flight Services offers charter service on demand and air ambulances at the airport.
The first of two request for proposals the airport sent out over the past two months garnered five responses, two of which appeared promising, Grow said. The most appealing of those two proposals was a plan for Mountain Flight Services to build a 10,000-square-foot private hangar with an office and maintenance unit directly south of the existing terminal. Grow said the company may also be interested in using the existing airport terminal or renovating it.
The city, after building the passenger terminal to accommodate commercial service in 1993, lost that service in 1995.
With that in mind, the city is hoping to find another way to coax some cash out of the airport.
After negotiating with the company, Grow and Deputy City Manager Wendy Dubord will come back to council with some more numbers and a better sense of how the proposal would affect the airport.
"Staff's going to bring back a very comprehensive report on expenditures, revenues, potential revenues from the new development and what the impacts are," Dubord said.
City Council wanted to look at the hangar idea as to how it would help define the future of the airport namely, if the airport would have to grow to keep its head above water and what consequences that growth could entail. By growth, council meant the physical space that would be taken up by new hangars and buildings, not necessarily an extension of the runway or any new city-financed building projects.
Council decided to allow Grow to negotiate with Mountain Flight Services but not another potential builder of hangars, Dunn Properties. That company's application to build more hangars on 30 acres of land by the airport may be negotiated later on. Those hangars could bring in up to $561,720 a year to the city from ground leasing and fuel sales, Grow said. The city operates a fixed-base operation at the airport, which sells aviation fuel to plane owners and businesses, among other things. City Council will review the airport issue again March 13.
"Nobody's committing to anything right now, but I'm very excited," Grow said. "There's so much potential that isn't being realized right now."
As it is now, the city does not have a large enough runway to accommodate most commercial carriers and does not see achieving new commercial service as a possibility soon to be realized.