Saturday, April 14, 2018

Salado Airport (2TX) would be upgraded under proposal

SALADO — The future of this village is looking up — literally.

The owners of the Salado Airport, located just south of city limits, are proposing to upgrade the facility into a small general aviation airport. Currently, the airport is just a grass airfield and is used mostly for skydiving.

Village Administrator Don Ferguson said the owners have approached Salado and asked if it would be interesting in buying the airport. However, because of the cost that was not a possibility, Ferguson said.

“Then the discussions proceeded to exploring options,” the village administrator said.

Some of those options include what Ferguson mentioned to a joint partnership in which the village would own the runways, taxiways and the fueling facility while the current owners sell hangar space.

“That seems the favorable option at this stage of the game,” Ferguson said, stressing that talks are very preliminary and any action taken on the airport is still several years away.

There are some high hurdles before the airport can be upgraded.

“First things first: The airport must be deemed feasible by the state and must be on the state aviation plan,” Ferguson explained, adding the village will ask the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study. “This particular airport is not on the state aviation plan so we’re unable to move forward with the partnership at this point.”

If TxDOT determines the Salado airport qualifies for the aviation plan — and it is actually placed on the plan — Ferguson said the village would then be able to seek grants to help fund the airport’s development.

“The option that appears most workable at this point is one in which the village would go in secure grant funding to acquire runways, taxiways and a fueling facility while the current owners would maintain ownership of the hangar space and sell it to interested parties,” the village administrator said.

When the redevelopment of the Salado airport gets off the ground, Bell County will likely play a role if it stays outside the village limits. Last week, the Bell County Commissioners discussed the airport during a workshop meeting.

The current proposal shows a lack of access to the property as well as plans for the airport to rely on septic tanks, said Steve Eubanks, an engineering technician in the county Road and Bridge Department.

Because the airport is so far off in the future, Salado’s sewer and wastewater system will be operational. Ferguson said the village has told the owners that the airport would need to connect into the sewer and provide additional access onto the property.

Construction on the sewer began in January and is on track to be completed sometime in early 2019, according to the village of Salado.

Additionally, the airport would also need to be voluntarily annexed into the village, Ferguson said.

A unique feature of the proposed airport upgrades are the hangars. Some of the airplane hangars would feature a small living space for tenants.

With Salado and Central Texas in the middle of an economic development boom, the time is right for a development, such as this, Ferguson said.

Original article can be found here ➤

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