FAA Concerned About Plans for Old South Dakota Terminal

The express shipping company that Aberdeen's Blackstone Developers may put in the old airport terminal is a non-aeronautical use - and this concerns the Federal Aviation Administration.

These concerns were revealed at a meeting with the FAA and Blackstone, Dave Osborn, city transportation director, said at Thursday's Airport Board meeting.

Osborn has said the feds have a say in the use of the building since it was constructed with federal money more than 50 years ago.

While the FAA had reservations about the proposed use of the building, Osborn pointed out the answer was not "no."

Apparently part of the proposed lease agreement involved a rent-free aspect, which the FAA didn't like, and neither did airport board member Dr. K.E. Broadhurst.

"If it's going to be free, I think we ought to make it free to everybody," Broadhurst said Thursday. He asked the board to send out a request for proposals, as it did last year for the cafe area in the new terminal.

Osborn said the free lease was probably not going to happen since the FAA requires the city to get fair market value in any lease agreement, and the FAA still must explicitly approve any use of the building.

According to 2005 plans, the old terminal was going to be demolished this winter, after an exhaustive search to find a use for the building turned up no interest.

It has sat vacant since a Transportation Security Administration office was moved out last year, and it has not served as an active terminal since the new terminal opened in 2003.

While nothing was finalized, the board agreed to pursue the possibility of leasing the building to Blackstone's prospective tenant, and did not put out a request for proposals.

Osborn noted that if the airport pursues a lease agreement for the building, $100,000 in federal funds earmarked for its demolition cannot be used for demolition later.

The city would not lose the money, it would simply be redirected to other airport improvement projects.

Additionally, the city would have to pay back the $850 federal money used to remove asbestos from the old terminal.

(605) 622-2310 or 1-800-925-4100 ext. 310; mcorpos@aberdeennews.com

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