Thursday, February 13, 2014

Altoona-Blair County Airport (KAOO), Martinsburg, Pennsylvania

Airport open to leasing restaurant

MARTINSBURG - With an idle kitchen and dining room on the second floor of the Altoona-Blair County Airport terminal building, the airport authority is wondering if anyone is interested in leasing the facility for parties or weddings.

With a need to bring in more revenue, the airport authority pondered the option while brainstorming Monday night during its monthly meeting.

Maybe an event planner would be interested in arranging use of the facility, airport authority Vice Chairman Gary Orner suggested.

"I've tried every avenue I can think of," airport Manager Tim Hite said about his search for an airport restaurant operator.

The airport's former Kitty Hawk restaurant used to keep a daily schedule for airport passengers and local patrons. It closed in December 2011 when the owner/operator retired. It reopened temporarily in 2012.

While looking for restaurant operators, Hite said he explored what's involved in securing a liquor license for the facility because that could attract an operator. But Hite told the authority it would be 2015 before the liquor license question could be put on the ballot for voter approval in the otherwise dry municipality.

Hite also suggested subdividing the restaurant area into quarters that could be rented as office space.

While the authority made no commitment to any option, members indicated that they would be interested in any ideas that could generate revenue for the airport.

The airport currently leases some office space inside the terminal building. Last year, the county moved the Penn State Extension offices to the terminal building's second floor. Those offices had been at the county's Valley View Home, but the sale of the home forced the county to relocate those offices.

Hite said the extension office has made use of the restaurant's kitchen for 4-H activities.

Anyone interested in the option can contact Hite at the airport.


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