On Oct. 28 the Salida Airport — Harriet Alexander Field Airport Advisory Board heard about future plans for the airport, near-term and five years into the future. Airport Manager Zech Papp addressed continuing proposals for additions of hangar space, extending taxiways and sub-taxiways for future needs and expansion. He also explained plans for seeking Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state and local funding for some of those projects.
Working with the airport consultant Dibble Engineering, Papp outlined capital improvement projects planned for the near term and out into 2025. The projects will be presented to the FAA and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) beginning in early November, Papp said.
One need is for 600 feet of additional sub-taxiway to allow for more hangar access, a project that would be completed with local and state funds, but without FAA funding.
Papp said he already has six letters of intent to build hangars on the property, and regularly gets more inquiries.
An airport budget for next year already has been passed by the Salida City Council. Local funding is always split between the City and Chaffee County. The county budget for next year is still under review.
The construction of a new beacon tower got FAA approval and plans and meetings are underway for the erection of the 50-foot tower structure. Among the projects earmarked for 2021, said Papp was a relocation of the automated weather station at the airfield.
For 2022, the relocation of the field fuel farm is envisioned. Papp explained that the 12,000-gallon underground tank is susceptible to failure, like many underground tanks. He said it’s not a question of if, but when, “and we don’t want to be in a position where we can’t sell any fuel.” He said estimates for replacement to an above ground tank range between $800,000 and $900,000; there is little prospect for FAA funding to replace that tank, but CDOT funding is possible. The old tank will have to be removed, and if there have been fuel leaks, soil mitigation would be required.
For 2023, projects include restriping and crack sealing on the runways, similar to what was done this year.
Land acquisition is on the project priority list for 2024, he said, including property needed for runway and taxiway setback.
For 2025, a phase two design project is planned to fulfill a major need for a full length taxiway alongside the main runway. Papp said he hopes the FAA will fund the almost $700,000 project, that can be built in stages.
Papp said fuel sales, even with the slowdowns seen from the pandemic, have been robust. For 2019, with aircraft based here to fight the Decker Fire, fuel sales totalled about 68,000 gallons. Papp said sales this year are approximately at 42,000 gallons, with two months remaining in the year.
The board also welcomed another member; Patty Arthur, who was a former advisory board chair. She is a licensed pilot as well as an attorney versed in aviation issues.
The board also agreed to combine its normal November and December meetings into one session planned for Dec. 9.