Airport studies moving forward

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Planes sit parked at Steamboat Springs Airport while maintenance work is performed on the runway this week. On Thursday, members of the Steamboat Springs Airport Steering Committee met to discuss preliminary findings of an alternative uses study for the airport.

Members of the Steamboat Springs Airport Steering Committee held an unofficial meeting Thursday to discuss the results of interviews conducted in conjunction with a study exploring alternate uses for the airport.

The meeting of the citizens committee was unofficial because a quorum of five of its seven members was not met. Committee member Eric Morris has been activated as a member of the National Guard and couldn't attend.

The committee considered a memo from consultants Matrix Design Group, commissioned by the city to do a $100,000 study of alternate uses for the Steamboat Springs Airport, also known as Bob Adams Field. One of the first steps in that study was to interview a collection of 48 "stakeholders" - airport tenants, community leaders, government officials, etc. - on the pros and cons of the airport.

"The majority of the stakeholders surveyed indicated the airport should remain open," the memo read.

Primary benefits cited for keeping the airport included:

- It provides safety and usage benefits by separating small private aircraft from commercial service and larger private aircraft at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden.

- It services local businesses that use small airplanes in their operations.

- It enhances the local economy by attracting high-end visitors with private planes who generate sales for local businesses.

Some negative opinions on the airport included:

- It provides little value to the general public and only serves the needs of a privileged few.

- Its city subsidies are too high.

- Its economic benefits are greatly overstated.

- It is redundant and unnecessary because YVRA can accommodate all of the region's aviation needs.

Some suggestions for an alternate use of the airport included a special events venue, a racetrack, recreation, big-box retail, industrial, mixed-use development and affordable housing.

Committee member Bill Jameson said the interviews should put to rest anyone's concern that the public be included in the study.

"They've had their input, now Matrix is going to get on with the meat of the study," Jameson said.

The next step for Matrix is to test and verify the information provided by the stakeholders and find out what is fact and what is fiction. Matrix will give an interim presentation to the steering committee at a meeting scheduled for Oct. 4. Their final presentation isn't expected until February.

The committee said it was pleased with the consultants' work thus far, although there were concerns about how they communicated with the committee.

"We seem to have lost control of the consultants," said committee co-chairman Michael Turner. Turner and other committee members said they felt out of the loop and requested to be included in e-mail correspondence from Matrix that was being sent to city Director of Transportation George Kraw-

zoff.

Krawzoff also was frustrated with Matrix for not notifying him until Wednesday that they would not attend Thursday's meeting.

"That's something that has to go away," Krawzoff said.

The steering committee's meeting was the first of two airport meetings held Thursday. A separate study, at a cost of $216,000, is being conducted by Armstrong Consultants and will be used to develop a master plan for the airport under the assumption that it will remain. In advance of a presentation to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Aug. 7, Armstrong Consultants held a public meeting Thursday night to discuss the group's latest findings.

Comments

elphaba 7 years, 4 months ago

boatski - I agree - This study is a total waste of money.- not to mention waste of time of those committee members.

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beentheredonethat 7 years, 4 months ago

a total waste of tax payers money which could be diverted to extending the yampa river core trail, west into heritage park, steamboat II, silverspur and the planned steamboat west areas.

the plane owners can use the spacious and safe yampa valley regional airport. their money will still be spent in steamboat so the sales tax money they generate is not lost.

that way all sides win. they continue to fly and the city can use tax payer money to provide for those very same tax payers.

this situation remains incomprehensible.

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elphaba 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry Bill - That's not what the issue is....The study is a waste of time and as the majority of people say - the airport is valuable. p.s. The City sales tax does not apply at YVRA so all that would be lost to the City

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quietone 7 years, 4 months ago

Well u all are obviously not pilots or people that know pilots in this town. The city does need too keep the airport mainly because theres a lot of people that fly in for the weekend or for the week and its a pain in the but too have too drive all the way from the big airport, especially since the highway is so crammed now a days. By the way you guys who are bikers are not so special, so stop bringing it up on every topic. Back too the airport issue theres a lot of reasons too keep it and hopefully the city does make the right decision.

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dimwitiguess 7 years, 4 months ago

Quietone, can you or do you know who can provide us with all of the pluses and minuses and maybe we could make an informed decision? Wouldn't that be novel? It would be almost like getting to know a lot of the issues. As far as rich people flying in for the weekend or for the week, I don't mind the airport, but I would like to know the city expenditures, who benefits, and what these people spend in Steamboat. That would shed some light, though a limited perspective. Either way I see more air traffic out of the airport since I live somewhat near it. It does seem to be used a lot more, I guess by private owners.

elphaba, I don't know if the majority see the airport as valuable. Probably most don't care, unless it's a money issue for them - being diverted from other things for the benefit of the few. My mind is open, convince me.

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elphaba 7 years, 4 months ago

dimwitiguess - To say "money being diverted from other things for the beneift of the few" isn't exactly an open mind. The finances have been put forth time and time again but those of you who have chosen to believe the hype and not the reality will continue with that type of thinking. Here is a fact: More people use the Steamboat Springs Airport than the Haymaker golf course. Yet, the City continues to "subsidize" that without the hue and cry. The real issue is land development and the real naysayers are those developers who use closed minds to advance their cause,

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stillinsteamboat 7 years, 4 months ago

The airport would be a great location for new schools and a rec center for the kids. I know this would not be popular with the flying community but would be a better use of the property.

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Hammurabi 7 years, 4 months ago

As someone who, over 30 years, has taken trips out of Hayden, I would prefer to keep as much general aviation as possible away from the Hayden airport. Without a tower and with the amount of traffic that goes in and out of there, I'm a safety first flyer. Bob Adams field is a benefit to the entire community and it isn't going to go away, so why not move on and quite rehashing the same convoluted arguments. If the councils had saved the dollars spent over the past years on this issue, we could have a wonderful trail system completed, or perhaps a better bus system, etc. Time to stop wasting money and volunteer time on this...enough!!

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elphaba 7 years, 4 months ago

stillinsteamboat - A rec center and a school without adequate water for fire flow and built on a hazmat site would be a great location! Let's put you in charge of everything with that kind of thinking! - Oh wait - let's not.

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stillinsteamboat 7 years, 4 months ago

Why so RUDE? You can surely get your point across without being such a jerk.

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elphaba 7 years, 4 months ago

OK - sorry point taken but, in fact, there is not adequate fire flow for any type of development and the airport is the site of the old city dump - in addition to fuel spills and ethyl glycol use for years. It's got a great and appropriate use right now - an airport!

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