Oct. 21--Randall County officials hope if they build an airport, businesses will come.
"I hope everyone will keep an open mind about it," Randall County Judge Ernie Houdashell said.
At a Thursday meeting, local flying enthusiasts and others heard a presentation on the next steps toward deciding whether the county needs an airport to serve businesses that could range from those in an industrial park to be built adjacent to the airport, to casual recreational fliers.
"We would hope to build it primarily for economic development," Houdashell said.
Randall County would own and operate the airport. There are currently seven airports documented in the county, said Perry Havenar, an airport planner with the consulting firm Bucher, Willis & Ratliff. The company will be doing the feasibility study.
The busiest of the airports is Tradewind with 85 planes based there and 32,800 operations annually, Havenar said. An operation is either a takeoff or landing. The second busiest is Buffalo with 57 planes and 12,800 operations. The process of doing the study begins with an inventory of airports and the economic and social conditions in the county. Next is making a forecast of what aircraft might use the new facility, possible flight approaches and what types of runways and terminal would be needed.
Another task is to develop how much money will be needed and how much land.
If the airport had a 6,000- to 7,000-foot runway, about 300 acres would be needed, plus about 100 acres for the industrial park, Havenar said.
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