Airport gets funding boost | SteamboatToday.com

Airport gets funding boost

Director doubtful Steamboat will contribute

Danie Harrelson

— Yampa Valley Regional Airport will be receiving a slightly larger donation from the town of Hayden this year.

The Hayden Board of Trustees on Thursday evening approved $20,500 to support 2002 airport improvements.

“It’s important that we do continue to support the airport,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Haskins said. “We’ll be certainly reaping the benefits of a lot of this.”

Last year the board approved a $19,000 donation, or approximately 10 percent of Hayden’s sales-tax revenue from airport business activity, Town Clerk Lisa Johnston said. That amount almost doubled the board’s approval for $10,000 in 2000. The money will be used to match state and federal dollars for airport improvement projects, Aviation Director Jim Parker said.

Without funding from local governments, some airport projects cannot be completed, Parker added. County Commissioners on Tuesday applauded Hayden for its contribution to the airport.

“The Hayden Town Board and the town of Hayden realize the importance of the airport and its impact on the community,” County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. “They have come to the table financially.”

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County Commissioner Dan Ellison agreed that Hayden should be thanked for its show of solidarity with the county.

“The town is staying right with us,” he said. “It’s wonderful.”

Routt County’s share of the airport’s projected capital requirements for 2002 exceeds $473,000, Parker said.

Parker explained that Hayden’s contribution to the airport is easier to calculate than nearby Craig or Moffat County.

“It’s more difficult to determine what kind of economic impact they (Craig and Moffat County) receive,” Parker said. “It’s quantifiable numbers from the town of Hayden because it’s an actual sales tax they have on the airport.”

Parker said he is doubtful that Steamboat Springs will contribute to the airport’s capital fund based on its refusal last year, but he hopes to get some funding from Moffat County and Craig. Last year he requested $60,000 from Moffat County and $30,000 from Craig. Moffat County instead gave him $30,000, and Craig donated $15,000 for 2001 improvement projects.

“I’m expecting at least what I received last year,” he said. “I’m hoping what I requested.”

Mayor Chuck Grobe expressed the concern of many of the board members when he asked if the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would have any effect on the amount of flights in and out of Yampa Valley Regional Airport this winter.

Parker said he doesn’t think fear of flying will keep people away.

“People are getting back on the airlines,” Parker said. “I don’t think fear is going to be a factor. It might be economic or other things that might be a factor that could impact the ski season.”

Six flights will continue to operate out of the airport, he said, and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has said the airlines’ winter schedules will stay intact.

“I’m an optimist,” Parker said. “I think we’re going to see continued travel. Recent events have not necessarily slowed down travel.”

Changes in airport security, however, are absolute, Parker said.

Recent federal regulations require round-the-clock parking lot and roadway security, he said.

“It’s not five hours a day for five days a week,” Parker said. “It’s going to be seven days a week for however long we operate the airport.”

Parker explained that the airport’s one traffic control officer cannot adequately meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements, so Routt County personnel will be maximized. Officers from Moffat County, Craig, Oak Creek and Hayden will also be used to fill holes in security, he added.

“We’ve got a whole different level of security than we had last year,” Parker said. “I don’t know if anybody’s been to the airport, but it almost looks like a military installation.”