Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Elbow Lake Municipal - Pride of the Prairie Airport (Y63) plans for the future

Yesterday morning, Elbow Lake Municipal Airport — Pride of the Prairie Airport — launched a new website. The website details the history of the airport, includes a photo gallery and a 25 year master plan for the airport.

According to Joe LaRue, airport manager, the city of Elbow Lake took on the 25 year master plan to keep the airport eligible for FAA requirements and state funding for local airport needs.

“The master plan puts in a plan for infrastructure, building improvements for the next 25 years along with kind of reestablishing the want list for people in the community,” LaRue said.

An advisory board made of community members and organizations helped layout the details of this plan and what they would like to see at the airport.

“The Community Advisory Board is put together from all aspects of the community to put in their input and help the airport be what everyone envisions to see,” LaRue said.

In addition to the advisory board, the Business Prairie Air management group, FAA, MnDOT and Bollig Engineering are helping Elbow Lake Municipal Airport through the processes of the plan. LaRue said the planning process takes about two years and they are not quite half way through.

Sue Kulbeik, the executive director of Elbow Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was asked to help create and launch the airport website. She said that part of the reason for the new website was to provide the master plan information to the public, for them to make comments and understand what changes they may see at the Elbow Lake airport.

Three public forums also took place to inform the public of the airport master plan and one more will be planned closer to the holidays.

“This is a constantly changing and organic plan as final decisions are made and new policies come down from the FAA,” Kulbeik said.

LaRue said there are various aspects of the 25 year master plan split into chapters.

“There are chapters that introduce the airport history, where the airport has been and where we are at now and a small bit of where we are looking to go,” LaRue said.

The master plan also includes a basic inventory of airport conditions, aviation demands and forecasts of what they estimate the airport will need in the future.

Currently, LaRue said the airport is focusing on facility requirements, reviewing what MnDOT and FAA and the local government want out of the facility. This includes features such as analyzing runway length, analyzing a parallel taxiway, power requirements, fencing, how a new seaplane base interacts with zoning or expansion of the airport’s ramp.

As for the concerns of the advisory board, LaRue said they want to see an overall continuance of involvement in making the airport accessible and user friendly to the public. This could mean appropriate signage depicted to make easy location of the airport.

Of all the possible changes at the airport, LaRue is most excited to see an expansion of the accessibility for the seaplane base and the ramp.

“This will help with the flow of traffic at the airport,” LaRue said. “We have grown over the last 10 years and when airplanes are moving around on the ground it gets congested.”

According to LaRue, the public will not see any changes at the airport until three or five years down the road.

“The city only has so much funding and budget each year and the planning process is an expensive process,” LaRue said.

Once the planning is done toward the next year, then LaRue said plans to move ahead and get projects done will be underway.

To access the master plan and get more information on the Elbow Lake Municipal Airport, go to prideoftheprairieairport.com

Original article  ➤ http://www.fergusfallsjournal.com

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