Idaho County Airport’s Future Growth Needs Urban Land | North West


The articles in this roundup of regional news are taken from weeklies across the region. This is the first part, the second part to appear in the Sunday Tribune.

GRANGEVILLE – The future growth and development of the Idaho County Airport is a cooperative project in which the City of Grangeville is invited to participate. Idaho County Commissioner Ted Lindsley reached out to the city council last week, “to start a conversation,” about mutually beneficial plans to improve and potentially expand the aerial facility, and asked the city to consider selling 20 acres of municipal land to help facilitate this proposal.

No decision was made on the application at the Feb. 7 meeting, and councilors were asked to attend county airport planning meetings for more information.

“Right now our airport is almost landlocked,” Lindsley said, hampered by Day Road to the west, elevation issues to the east and housing development to the north. The county is currently involved in the design of a new airport management plan, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, which may impact operations due to new regulations on flight width aircraft, for example, and include the addition of security fencing and space for expansion. The deadline is June for submission of the finalized plan.

As part of the airport plan, the county is looking to purchase 20 acres from the city, located adjacent to the south, with the tentative plan to move Airport Road south and open up more land adjacent to the airport for related development. These could include ancillary businesses, such as aircraft repair, and warehouses or a distribution center to support air transport. Already part of the plan, the county is proposing to add a small terminal and/or pilot lounge, and Lindsley mentioned that the Forest Service has plans — although no funding is currently allocated — to develop a center. jump area of ​​27,000 square feet. As improvements are made in drone and aviation technology, Lindsley said this could open up the facility to more air traffic in the future.

“The county has invested millions to ensure air cargo, firefighting support and medical flights can come and go easily,” he said. The current facility has 22 aircraft based, and in 2021 nearly 18,000 flight operations were conducted from the airport. Purchasing 20 acres, he said, could allow the purchase of another 50 to 60-based aircraft and increase flight operations.

Proceeds from the sale of the land could be used by the city to expand water and sewer infrastructure at the airport for future development, Lindsley said. Overall, improving the airport would be a benefit to the economic development of the county and the city. The search for the first option on the sale of land is now ahead of potential development of land in this area, which, when done, could put an end to any potential expansion of the airport.

“I think it would be a real travesty if this great community asset wasn’t allowed to grow to meet the demands of the flying future,” Lindsley said.

— David Rauzi, Idaho County Free Press, (Grangeville), Wednesday

Money testifies on the EPA program

WASHINGTON, DC — A Whitman County commissioner was among experts testifying Tuesday about the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program.

A so-called “brownfield” is a potentially contaminated and abandoned property.

The EPA program is due to expire next year, sparking hearing about its importance and ways to clean up brownfields and attract potential buyers and developers to make properties viable sources of taxes land and jobs.

Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent spoke representing the National Association of Counties.

His comments referred to the towns of Pullman and Palouse and their need for grant funds.

“For the city of Palouse…without the EPA grant for the remediation of these brownfields, one-sixth of this downtown would not be available for economic development,” he said. “Without the money from the EPA, the city of Pullman, Washington State University and the port of Whitman could not develop any particular project there.

Rural Whitman County doesn’t have a lot of brownfields, he said.

But cleaning up and rearranging the existing ones is important.

“I would say its impact is huge,” he said.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, sits on the subcommittee.

She took advantage of Largent’s comments to ask if the county could afford to assess the contamination and clean up the brownfields.

“From a county perspective and for our small towns, it’s a no,” he said. “We couldn’t afford it. We struggle to pay our employees a living wage.

“We are not doing new programs. We cannot take new initiatives. Without that money from the EPA, this wouldn’t have happened.

– Whitman County Gazette, (Colfax), Thursday


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