From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 4 - April 19, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Airport board seeks commissioners help for taxiway project

by Trey Wilkinson

The Wyoming Aeronautics Commission (WAC) may not be willing to supply Sublette County with as much money for a taxiway and hangar project as originally anticipated due to the commission’s mindset that the county already has “so much money.”

Pinedale Airport Manager Jim Parker and airport board chairman Jim McLellan spoke to the county commissioners Friday giving them an update on the taxiway project at the Pinedale airport.

According to Parker, a new access taxiway is needed to an area where additional hangar space can be developed.

“There is a hangar waiting list,” McLellan said.

After speaking with the WAC, McLellan said the commission told him they feel the money should go somewhere other than Sublette County or come in the form of a match grant.

“This (taxiway project) is very high on our priority list,” McLellan said. “We’ve written a letter to the commission stating that we do enjoy living in a rich county, however, that doesn’t mean the airport board is rich.”

County Commissioner Chairman Bill Cramer asked if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was a possible funding source.

“We are eligible for FAA monies, but there are no funds there,” Parker said.

County Clerk Mary Lankford informed the commissioners that possible funding had been set aside in a reserve account, however, part of the $2.5 million in the account is committed to the Big Piney hanger.

Cramer felt there was a “good chunk of money” that could be used toward a 50/50 match grant.

“The commission wants to know by April 17 what we can match,” Parker said.

Parker also said he spoke with Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith, who told him the town did not have the necessary funds to provide the airport board.

“I think a good airport is a sign of a healthy community,” McLellan said.

Commissioner Joel Bousman said he didn’t object to providing funding; however, he said he’d be inclined to write a letter to the commission and try to get help from the governor.

“We are a wealthy county, but there is a lot of impact going on,” Bousman said.

Cramer said the Pinedale airport, known as Ralph Wenz Field, was being used often.

“With the April 17 date coming up, I’m not sure we have the time on this one to write letters,” he said. “A 50/50 match is more than we’ve had to do in the past, but if this pool of money has been set aside and we have an opportunity to capture some of this money and bring it back to Sublette County, then I say we go for it.”

“There would be a lot of happy people if this got done,” he said.

A motion was made authorizing that the commissioners submit a 50-percent match for the project. The motion passed unanimously.

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