Wednesday, December 13, 2017

More in store for the Dixon Municipal Airport (C73): Board wants to clean house – or, rather hangars – and take other action to improve a city asset



DIXON – Hangars are full at the Dixon Municipal Airport, and efforts are underway to make sure the spaces are being used to house operational aircraft rather than storing dead planes.

Updated leases will be sent out to hangar tenants next month as well as a warning that they will need to be in compliance with the rules, primarily that the hangar must house a flyable plane.

The airport has about 40 hangars, two of which are used to store city snow plows, and the Airport Board estimates that 10 of the spaces store out-of-service aircraft.

The goal is to make sure the hangars are being used for their intended purpose and drawing traffic for the facility instead of storing junk and other materials that could be a safety hazard.

“We’re giving people a couple of months to come into compliance,” Airport and Street Department Manager Jim Canterbury said during the board meeting Tuesday.

Other items on the airport’s to-do list are repair the automated weather observing system (AWOS) that has had issues for about a year, move forward with improving the lighting on its main runway using Federal Aviation Administration funds and get approved to once again be able to have nighttime approaches.

The City Council signed off on a feasibility study more than a year ago to gauge whether the airport was worth keeping open, and the goal for the past several months has been to find ways to improve the airport, make it as self sufficient as possible, and bring in new development.

Board Chairman Dan Ruckman said more interest is being shown in the airport and its value in the community.

“I think things are positive, and the city sees that, and the city now feels that it’s an asset,” he said.

The airport recently received a new fixed-base operator, M&M Aviation Services, headed by former Whiteside County Airport Manager Mike Dowell, who is renting four hangars and providing a flight school, charter service and aircraft rental.

The board recognized Dowell and hope that his business will generate more activity at the airport.

NEXT MEETING

The Dixon Municipal Airport Board next meets at 5 p.m. Jan. 10 at the airport, 1650 Franklin Grove Road.

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