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Work on the east-west runway at Salida Airport Harriet Alexander Field involving crack sealing and paint striping will be getting underway this summer, and that’s just the start.

Salida Airport Harriet Alexander Field. Dan Smith photo.

Planning for future expansion and additions, along with seeking additional funds to finance them have been in progress for some time, with Airport Manager Zech Papp at the helm.

In late May, city and county officials took part in a joint airport education day to familiarize leaders with the various commercial and private aviation operations and future needs at the increasingly busy facility.

Among the needs presented were a larger shop building that would be adequate for necessary maintenance projects, extension of taxiways to eliminate the need for aircraft to taxi on the main runway, access road paving, new hangar construction, better operations equipment, improvements to the field fuel farm and more.

There are also supply chain questions and concerns over higher costs for things like asphalt and structural steel to be dealt with in the planning process, Papp has pointed out in the past.

A combination of Federal Aviation Administration funding and grants, state transportation system funding and local city and county matching funds will be needed for the future improvements. Beyond the cyclical regular federal and state funding, 83 percent of the airport’s revenue comes from fuel sales and about nine percent from hangar rental.

Recently Papp said letters were being sent to owners of the current 29 hangar owners at the airport regarding compliance requirements for their land leases, including proper insurance forms being filed, contact information and compliance with fire protection rules, outside storage and the like.

Work on the runway, once contracts are awarded, will require the field be closed to some aviation for a time, Papp stated.

Chaffee County recently approved a recommendation by the Airport Advisory Board to hire D2C Architects of Denver to work on the design and cost estimates for a future new 130-by-100-foot terminal building.

Also approved recently is a contract with main airport design firm Dibble Engineering for the installation of a new Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) at a location on the other side of the runway from its current location, which is too near other structures.

Featured image: City and County officials toured the operation of Salida Airport in late May, and many were treated to flights. Dan Smith photo.