Airport Advisory Committee members were updated on pending improvements and the status of hangar lease agreements when they met Friday morning.
David Goedeken, City of Fremont director of public works, said the Federal Aviation Administration and the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics are reviewing a master plan. The plan calls for a new terminal and other improvements at Fremont Municipal Airport.
Goedeken said he’s working with the department of aeronautics on an environmental document. This involves a categorical exclusion which examines whether there are wetlands, historic buildings or endangered species at the site and how construction would affect the environment.
He said plans are to have concrete work take place on a parking apron during the next construction season in 2018. If all goes as planned, work on a new airport terminal would take place in 2019.
The parking apron is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million. Goedeken said any funds leftover from that project should be able to be applied toward terminal construction.
Goedeken told the Tribune that funds for the parking apron will come from the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics, which receives them from the FAA.
Money for the terminal will come from the city’s general fund.
“We will attempt to capture some state or federal funds, but there’s no guarantees on that. Nothing has been committed on it,” he said.
The city has $2 million budgeted for the entire airport project. At this point, there is not a definitive cost for the terminal.
In September, the Fremont City Council approved a resolution accepting recommendations of the Airport Terminal Plan.
The current terminal at Fremont Municipal Airport was built in 1964. The facility needs new heating and air conditioning systems and other upgrades. The current aircraft parking apron lacks space.
Robert Crain, project manager of aviation services for Burns McDonnell in Kansas City, Missouri, told the council that 58 aircraft, two of which are jets, are based at the airport.
Each year, Fremont’s airport has 22,300 operations (aircraft take-offs or landings), according to statistics from FlightAware, a company that tracks pilots’ flight plans.
Crain shared a list of 18 businesses with local plants, stores and offices that use the airport on a regular basis. Listed businesses include: Hormel Foods Corp.; HyVee Food Store; Walmart; Mendards; Taylor & Martin: ADM; 3M, Fremont Beef; and Oil Gear.
“It seems there’s quite a few companies that use your airport that employ quite a bit of the local population,” Crain said.
Crain told the Tribune there essentially is no usable parking area on the current apron. He also said the apron isn’t consistent with FAA design standards.
He said the FAA would like to see the apron in place before a new terminal is constructed.
In other business, Goedeken told the advisory committee that on Tuesday night the city council approved the hangar lease agreement and adopted the Fremont airport’s rules and regulations.
Letters will go out next week to tenants, asking if they want to renew their leases for city-owned airport hangars. Current leases expire Dec. 31. Leases would extend for five years with tenants having the option to renew after that time.
Rent for a “T” hangar will increase from $165 per month to $181.50 and for bulk hangars from $330 to $363. Lease rates were last adjusted in 2012.
In a report to the council, Goedeken said the increase in rates will generate an additional $12,672 of total rent per year at full hangar capacity.
The rules and regulations, in part, state that all hangars must be used for airworthy aircraft. Lessees may store equipment used for aeronautical purposes. And provided that the hangar primarily is used for aeronautical purposes, the lessee may store non-aeronautical items as long as they’re not blocking the aircraft.
Other rules include:
Tenants must have an adequate fire extinguisher, current with National Fire Protection Association standards, in each hangar.
Hangars can’t be used as a residence. No overnight sleeping will be allowed inside the hangar.
No one under age 18 is allowed on airport grounds unless accompanied by an adult.
No more than 5 gallons of flammable liquids are allowed in the hangar and the fluids must be in Department of Transportation approved containers.
“Hangar inspections may be announced and conducted from time to time by airport staff and/or the fire marshal to assure compliance with the hangar lease agreement. Staff shall endeavor to provide tenants with at least 48 hours’ notice of such scheduled inspections,” the rules state.
No one shall enter the airport with any animal without permission of airport management except dogs or other animals which are restrained by a leash or properly confined and under the supervision of an adult.
In regard to maintenance at the airport, Goedeken said repairs will be made to an entry gate for vehicles that’s on the south side of 23rd Street. The project’s estimated cost is $3,800.
Goedeken told the Tribune that the gate, which is about 20 feet wide, has a key punch pad. Hangar tenants have their own password and can drive in. The gate’s gear box and rollers will be replaced. Electric eyes — that can detect an obstruction — will be installed.