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A no-interest loan from the state and pilots wanting a hangar might help get an airport proposal off the ground.

Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton talked about the possibility of constructing a six-hangar building and the loan program when the Airport Advisory Committee met Friday.

Committee members also voted in Robert Steenblock as the new committee chairman. Former chairman Ron Vlach resigned last month.

Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman previously appointed Steenblock to fill Vlach’s unexpired term as the new chairman.

Committee member Tom Randall was elected as vice chairman.

Much of the committee’s discussion centered on the possibility of constructing more hangars at Fremont Municipal Airport.

The city owns 26 T-hangars, said Jim Kjeldgaard, fixed base operator. It also owns about four bulk hangars that can store up to 10 planes, depending on the aircraft’s size.

Kjeldgaard has said hangars at the airport are full and people continually ask if any are available.

Newton said the city is looking into the costs of constructing a metal building that would house six T-hangars.

He also talked about the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics has Revolving Hangar Loan Program, an interest-free loan to be paid back at 70 percent of the eligible cost.

Newton said he thought the loan would have to be paid off in 10 years.

But Eric Johnson, a committee member who attends meetings of the aeronautics commission which awards the funds, said the city could request a longer period of time to repay the loan.

While Johnson said he thinks it’s a good practice to have a 10-year loan, he’s seen the commission go up to a 15-year loan.

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“You can always request it and make a case for it,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, they’ll approve it and sometimes they won’t.”

Johnson said if there is an existing hangar loan, the state will stick to the 10-year repayment, but if there isn’t an existing loan, they’ll consider the 15-year option.

“It would be nice if we could get a 15-year loan,” Newton said.

Newton also talked about having the city sending out a survey to almost 140 pilots in the surrounding communities, asking if they’d be interested in leasing a hangar at the airport.

Steenblock asked if pilots in Elkhorn were included in that list. Newton said they weren’t, but could be added. Thus, the list could include 160 pilots, who would be surveyed.

“It doesn’t hurt to throw your hat out there,” Kjeldgaard said.

Newton agreed, noting the importance of a survey.

“If we take any kind of a hangar proposal to the council, the first thing they’re going to ask is: ‘What’s the demand?’” Newton added.

In other business, Dave Goedeken, director of public works, said there are three hangar tenants who still have not finalized their lease agreements.

“For the most part, everyone’s been very cooperative,” Goedeken said.

Newton also talked about sending a letter to tenants of city-owned hangars about inspections planned for the spring.

The airport advisory council meets at 8:15 a.m. the third Friday of each month in the airport terminal. The next meeting is March 15.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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