Issues at airport need resolution before hangar project begins

By Per Peterson

Pictured is the ravine on the east end of Runway 11/29.
Photo / Per Peterson

The City of Tracy is moving forward with major airport improvements, but there are some roadblocks that need to be addressed in order to receive federal funding.

Angela Holm from Bollig Inc., the company the City is working with on airport improvements, updated  the city council last week on progress being made in upcoming projects. Holm said the master plan is close to being completed.

“We’re getting very close to being done; June 1st is the deadline that FAA wants the (plan done),” said Holm. “Right now we’ve got four or five chapters of narrative and an airport layout plan.”

The master planning update, which is subject to review by the FAA and MnDOT, includes a draft grant closeout document, which is due in April, an alternatives analysis memo which was resubmitted and reviewed by the FAA on March 2, the alternatives analysis chapter, discussion with the Community Advisory Committee (March 22), from which comments will be brought to the City’s Airport Board, city administrator and airport manager, airport layout plan and facilities implementation and financial feasibility plan, which will begin soon and include a detailed 20-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Holm also gave an update on potential hangar construction as it relates to the funding process. She said there are three ways to fund new hangars at the airport: donations from private investors, an FAA grant, or from a revolving loan from MnDOT.

The City receives a $150,000 grant each year from the FAA, which, Holm said, comes with strings attached since new hangars are considered a “revenue-generating facility.” Holm said the FAA won’t fund a hangar until all of the airport’s safety needs are met first. Some of those safety issues have already been taken care of at the airport, such as the reconstruction of the apron and removal of power poles.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.