Menomonie council moves along terminal plans

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Mar. 3--MENOMONIE -- The new airport terminal at the Menomonie Municipal Airport is getting closer to landing.

The Menomonie City Council on Monday unanimously approved a building plan and authorized the Bureau of Aeronautics to go out to bid for the terminal.

The 2,500-square-foot terminal is estimated to cost about $725,000 including utilities and site preparation. The terminal will be funded 95 percent with federal dollars, and the remaining 5 percent will be split between the state and the city.

Public Works Director Randy Eide said bids could be approved in late April or early May.

"We hope to get in early on the plates of contractors when they are hungry," he said.

The airport has about $200,000 in airport entitlement funds from the federal government that must be obligated this year or the funds will be lost, Eide said.

The terminal will include a lobby space to one side, a manager's office, a conference room, pilot's lounge, restrooms, and a vending and kitchen area.

The exterior of the building will have a metal roof and stone work on the sides.

"It is as simple building as you can get, but we wanted to make it a defining building so it doesn't look like a hangar," Eide said.

Bob Willow, chairman of the airport commission, said one portion is a second story to allow people at the terminal to see airplanes come into the airport.

The terminal is smaller than the Rice Lake airport's 6,400-square-foot building. The terminal in Red Wing, Minn., is 3,500 square feet.

"We're kind of small compared to other airports, yet I feel we have everything the other buildings have," Willow said, noting there are few hallways in the planned terminal to create more usable space.

"This airport is really the gateway to our community," he said. "It is going to be the way economic development arrives at this community. This will significantly help us with our economic development."

Airport Commission member Bruce Trimble of Menomonie said people who are able to influence Menomonie's future development often come by airplane and very often don't get past the airport, holding meetings there and then flying back.

"I believe the terminal building will create a better impression for people who come by air," he said.

The current terminal is about 800 square feet with one meeting room, a unisex restroom, and a storage area that now has been made into a pilot's room with a computer to check flight plans. The furnishings were donated throughout the years, including the toilet in the restroom. .

About 400 to 500 aircraft use the airport each year.

Eide has said he expects to see that number increase, particularly with a 5,000-foot-runway, a 3,000-foot second runway and new, lighter jets.

Parade planned

In other action the City Council approved a request by Mehara Shrine Club to hold a parade May 30 in downtown Menomonie. It will start at 3:30 p.m. Twenty or more parade units from the Shriner's are expected in the parade, as well as civic groups that may join at no cost, said Randy Smeltzer of rural Colfax, a member of the group.

The city also approved allowing two to four camels in Wilson Park before the parade to allow people to pet and view the animals.

The annual ceremonial, or convention, of the Shriners will be May 29-30 in Menomonie. During the ceremonial parade units in Wisconsin come together to present the money they have raised for the Shriner's Hospitals in Minneapolis and Chicago to the potentate, or head of the group.

Powers can be reached at 715-235-9018 or pamela.powers@ecpc.com.

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