Cochise County is hoping to use a new federal grant to plan upgrades to Bisbee-Douglas International Airport to foster economic development.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced last week that $228,172 has been awarded to Cochise County to update the master plan for the airport, which is north of Douglas.
The federal grant is an excellent opportunity to plan for economic development on the 3,000-acre airport site, said Lisa Marra, grants administrator for the county.
“There’s a lot of potential with that airport for economic development,” she said. “It’s a huge property most airports don’t have.”
The airport has two paved runways, including one that is nearly 1.4 miles long.
The updated master plan also will determine how the Bisbee-Douglas airport fits in with other airports in the region, Marra said, including the Cochise County Airport near Willcox and the Douglas Municipal Airport.
The Bisbee-Douglas International Airport was built between 1941 and 1943 as a bomber training field for World War II pilots. In 1949, the federal government gave the airport to Cochise county.
The airport had commercial air service for a while, but that ended in the 1960s. It now is used mainly by private pilots. About a dozen planes are hangared there, Marra said.
The Air Force and Army use it for training during the summer, and it also is used by planes fighting wildfires in the area.