Members of the New Hampton Airport Foundation have made a formal request to the City Council to help with what they say are much-needed improvements to the runway at the New Hampton Municipal airport.
Foundation President Dan Scott asked council members on Monday night to consider putting $17,000 per year for the next three years into a capital account to help make the airport sustainable for years to come. About a dozen airport supporters were on hand during Scott’s presentation.
“These monies, along with our fundraisers, will enable the New Hampton Airport Commission, to apply for grants for major work at the airport,” Scott said. “We are working to have our airport a safe, usable municipal airport so our community will see more economic benefit.”
The foundation was established this past spring, several months after it was learned that the city might entertain an offer to sell the airport runway and hangars.
It has raised about $10,000 so far and plans on kicking off its major fundraising campaign after Christmas, but Scott said during and after the meeting, that it was important to have city “buy-in” into what he estimates will be about a $600,000 project.
“We need our city leaders to act like city leaders,” he said Wednesday morning, “and that means looking to the future to make sure we have a sustainable airport.”
Council members, though, said they couldn’t make any commitment to the airport until they begin their budget process for the 2015-16 budget.
During Monday’s meeting, several members of the crowd again took the council to task for not putting revenue received from the airport’s cropland — estimated at about $25,000 a year — back into the airport.
Instead, that money is used in the general fund, and Scott suggested that if there were 20 city departments, “couldn’t we take $1,000 from each budget to help with the airport? Is that asking too much?”
Foundation member Jason Lahmann said the last work done on the runway was in the late 1960s, when an asphalt runway was completed.
Scott said the foundation has an estimate from a local contractor for $600,000, which would lead to the leveling of the runway, the pouring of a 1 1/2-inch overlay and seal coating the runway.