Athens Public Works Director Tim Perry said Monday the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Director of Planning Dan Harmon has received the city’s letter concerning greatly increasing the in-demand hangar space at Athens Municipal Airport and constructing a wildlife fence.
Perry told the city council April 12 that the 12 available T-hangars are always full and there were then 17 individuals on the T-Hangar wait list.
“We’re constantly getting requests for rental space for aircraft out there,” Perry said.
The Letter of Intent, he said does not obligate the city to any financial commitments at this time, but it would help start the started for approvals of possible funding.
Each year TxDOT allocates the airport $150,000 to be used in up to four years. This is the third year that the money has been accumulating.
“After the fourth year, it doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t continue to grow,” Perry said.
By the fourth year, the city can have accumulated $600,000 for airport projects. The city’s match is $60,000. That would cover the great majority of the cost of the hangars and wildlife fencing.
“We figure if we could get a letter out, letting him know that the intent is for some hangars and extra fencing, we could go ahead and get started on it,” Perry said.
In his response, Harmon asked if the city had ever done a wildlife assessment on the airport.
“If there even has been one performed we do not show any record of it,” Perry said.
For years, Athens officials pursued lengthening the runway at Athens Municipal Airport.
For a while, Texas Department of Transportation gave the city reason to be optimistic that funding for the multi-million dollar project could be coming.
That changed, when a change of leadership at TxDOT seemed to put Athens back at the starting gate.
With that in mind, the Airport Advisory Board has come up with the hangar plan, smaller in scope, which could benefit the local aviation community and bring financial rewards.
The council approved authorizing the City Manager Elizabeth Borstad to execute and send a the letter.
In another item involving the Airport, Athens was notified recently that it will receive $13,000 in CARES funds. Perry said the city submitted receipts for reimbursement of salaries and other expenses like utilities and maintenance items.