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Emmetsburg City Council Discuss New Airport Hangar

Decision Tabled To Next Meeting

June 12, 2014
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Emmetsburg City Council delayed action on building a new airport hangar.

After a public hearing Monday evening, the council voted unanimously to delay awarding the contract to build the hangar. They will discuss the project and how to fund the project at their June 23 meeting.

Bids for the 80' x 100' hangar were received last Wednesday, June 4. Six companies submitted bids and all were below the engineer's estimate of $561,000 for the project.

Jensen Builders, LTD, Fort Dodge, was the low bidder with $443.271. In his brief to the council, City Administrator John Bird noted that the bid did not include heat or wall insulation, but Jensen Builders offered an alternate bid for this work in the amount of $22,350. That brings the total bid to $465,621.

Bird told the council that the city has been awarded state funding:?$100,000 for the building itself and $113,458 for the taxiway to the hangar. The city's match is $120,000, which leaves a shortfall of over $132,000.

Discussing use of the hangar, Bird told the council "The last time Matt (Ferrier, airport engineer) was at a commission meeting, he said it could house two larger aircraft and probably one other smaller plane."

Gary Koppie, a member of the Airport commission, added, "It (hangar) has a capacity for more than just two aircraft, depending on what they are and how you place them in there."

Councilman Mike Hermansen asked if the rent would be the same for two big planes, as well as three planes together.

"That decision has not been made on rental," answered Koppie. "What we're hoping for - and it's very important that we gt a couple larger aircraft on the field. That way we can progress forward with our airport and we'd be able to expand to the point where we'd be able to get executive traffic in here legally and lawfully."

He continued, "The hangar itself is really important to the airport because everything else hinges on that - the extension of the runway and many of the other items we have in the ALP (Airport Layout Plan) is contingent on getting some corporate type aircraft out here so we have a corporate traffic flow."

Hermansen questioned whether rental space would be per square foot. "I understand you'd like to have three in there, but if you have two bigger ones you'd be okay with that?"

"I would be very happy with that because it would allow us to go forward with the rest of the ALP," said Koppie. "It would certainly be helpful as far as securing future grants for the airport."

Koppie added, "We've been very fortunate with the amount of grants that we've had. I would like to see that project going forward. Corporate aviation is very important to the community if you want to expand the community. If people can get in and out with corporate aircraft, they are far more likely to look at us for a company or something like that."

Campbell asked if there are prospects interested in locating corporate aircraft in Emmetsburg on more than a temporary basis.

"I think we've got some pretty good prospects right now," Koppie answered. Two possible renters were named.

"If we could totally rent this building, how much income would that generate per year?"?asked Campbell. "How long is it going to take to recoup this extra $130,000 - plus the electricity and insulation?"

"You're talking today'smarket,"?answered Koppie. "When we built the 8-place hangar, that recouped itself within 10-15 years. It pretty rapidly recouped the price of the hangar. I don't know what cost share went into that. The hangars we have there have recouped their money. We don't owe anything on any of the hangars out there."

Councilman Corey Gram-owski brought up asking the county for financial assistance.

"Over the years, I've met with them three times," said Bird. "Because it's the only airport in the county, would they consider assisting us financially and every time it's been a resounding no."

Koppie reiterated, "I?just look at how key the hangar is in going forward with the ALP. If we could secure the money for the airport runway expansion that would really help us along. I?feel confident it would pay for itself, but I don't know if it would be as quickly as the 8-place hangar did or not, but over time it certainly will with rentals."

Brian Guess, engineer, noted that fuel sales will go up, too.

"Does the hangar have a big influence on grant money for extending the runway?"?asked Mike Hermansen.

Koppie answered, "Yes, it would. Unless we can get the count (take-off and landing) for corporate aircraft, which, by the way we do have, we just can't claim them because we don't have the runway, but with an aircraft based here it would increase how many flights are going in and out of here."

He continued, "Ideally we need another 600 feet on the runway. We could probably get the grant for it if we had a corporate aircraft."

Campbell questioned why the runway project was not completed first.

"Chicken and egg,"?answered Bird. "We can't justify the extension because of the type and amount of traffic we have."

"At one time we talked about getting a couple of renters signed on ahead of time," said Councilman Tony Kauten. "Are we anywhere on that?"

"Until now we really didn't know what we were looking at for costs," said Bird. "I?think that would be prudent."

"Do we have someplace to get the $130,000 from?"?asked Campbell.

"If you are going to move forward, we're going to have to do some financial planning," said Bird.

The council voted to delay a decision on awarding the bid for the Emmetsburg Municipal Airport hangar project until their next meeting on June 23, with research on funding.



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