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Longest-ever hangar waitlist should soon start to shrink

The Park Rapids Airport Commission on July 20 discussed pending completion of a project that will furnish more hangar space to tenants and private developers.

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids Airport Commission learned July 20 that there are currently 30 names on the waitlist for hangar leases at the municipal airport.

Commission chair Thom Peterson called this the longest the waitlist has ever been.

City Administrator Angel Weasner said one tenant has given notice to terminate their lease, which will reduce the waitlist to 29 names.

“We will start calling from the top (of the list), to see if it’s the right hangar size,” she said. “We will start that process in the next week.”

Project engineer Matt Gustafson with TKDA reported that the airport’s terminal area taxilanes project is substantially complete and turned out very well.

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Asked about utilities at the new, developable hangar sites, Gustafson said sanitary sewer and water services have been installed, but hangar developers will have to put in electricity and natural gas services.

“They did stub it off the main line, but they weren’t willing to install natural gas to nowhere,” he said.

Airport manager Scott Burlingame explained that Minnesota Energy only installs gas service to an existing building.

During the meeting’s open forum segment, Tom O’Reilly asked about plans for building more hangars. Weasner said the airport’s capital improvement plan (CIP) calls for developing up to 10 T-hangars within the next couple years.

Burlingame added that the airport is on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s waitlist for a low-interest hangar loan.

City council representative Erika Randall noted that MnDOT offers “so many a year, and if you’re on the list and they come to you, you have to be ready to say yes. Otherwise, they’ll go on to the next one on the list and come back to us in 10 years.”

Burlingame said the T-hangar site is part of the nearly completed project Gustafson was reporting on, which also includes sites for new private hangars. Peterson described the new hangar sites, including four pads laid out to a maximum hangar size of 80 by 80 feet, and three pads designed for up to 60 by 60 feet. “Those are all available but one at this point,” he said, adding that their ground leases run around $100 per month depending on size.

Weasner reported that the city council has already approved one private hangar lease, and a potential second lease is being discussed, but it involves issues for city staff to work through. She added they will be adding a clause to the lease about paint color, to ensure uniformity in the appearance of the private hangars.

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Miscellaneous items

In other airport commission business:

  • Weasner said she would email out the airport’s financial report, which wasn't immediately available because the city just started using a new financial system. 
  • Randall asked about funds budgeted to pay a consultant for airport business services, who no longer works for the city. She suggested setting aside the funds for improvements needed at the arrival and departure (AD) building. Weasner said she could reserve the funds in a capital improvement account. “I just want to make sure that we don’t lose it,” said Randall, adding that the finance committee could add more funds to the account at budget time.
  • Gustafson said he and Weasner are meeting with the FAA in two weeks to discuss the airport’s CIP and identify future projects, including the T-hangar and equipment needs.
  • Burlingame reported that the roof of the glass cupola on the AD building was replaced to stop a hard-to-find leak. Other recent maintenance included replacing several LED lights on the exterior of the building and ongoing general repair of the T-hangars.
  • Randall noted there is a vacancy on the airport commission. Weasner agreed to add it to the city’s next call for letters of interest in serving on city boards and commissions.

The airport commission’s next quarterly meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Park Rapids City Hall.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
The city is second on a waiting list for a state loan program to build additional hangars, with 33 people currently on the waiting list for hangar space.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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