The Marana Town Council conducted a study session last week, and the majority of the meeting focused on Marana Regional Airport.
Earlier in the summer, Airport Manager Steve Miller explained that the airport had been awarded grants to update its master plan and develop a business plan for the airport, and Miller went before the council to give them an update on the projects.
Miller began by giving a brief overview of the current airport infrastructure. He explained the reason they need to update the master plan is they should be at 172,000 operations and 400 based aircraft.
The airport is one of eight general aviation airports in Arizona but is the only one without a control tower. He gave a brief accounting of the airport, explaining the revenue sources include land leases, fuel flowage fees, aircraft parking fees and event fees, and the expenses come from administration, maintenance, professional services and advertising. Fifteen businesses are currently located at the airport, and the airport and those businesses contribute nearly $16 million in “direct and indirect impact.”
Miller also gave an overview of the projects that began during 2015. In addition to the business plan and master plan, they have also undertaken an airport GIS survey, rates and charges analysis, pavement preservation and a wildlife hazard study.
They are in the process of replacing 59 signs “in various stages of deterioration.” The sign project began at the start of the year and will conclude next May.
Miller went over some of the capital improvements they plan on submitting. They are looking at over $17 million in improvements, including runway and taxiway extensions, a new terminal building, taxiway rehabilitation and lighting improvements.
Charlie McDermott, the senior airport project manager from Armstrong Consultants, gave more information about the master plan.
The goal is to craft a master plan that meets Federal Aviation Administration design standards and “provides for a safe and efficient airport to accommodate existing and future demand.”
The design of the master plan is to provide a 20-year plan for development. Included will be a forecast for expected demand, identification of assets and deficiencies and preparation of a financial development plan.
“Really when you think of the master plan, it is an infrastructure plan,” said McDermott. “You are looking at what is needed for the future. The business plan is really looking at how do we enhance revenue and how do we look at the airport from a business perspective. The two go very well together when they are done in parallel.”
McDermott also laid out the intent to create an airport layout plan included to pinpoint where development can occur and can be a tool for finding funding.
The council was briefed on its involvement, which will focus on oversight, acting as liasons to the community, providing feedback to the committee and, in the end, approval of the final plan.
With the current town magistrate set to retire, the council presented three candidates to be interviewed for the position. Eugene Hays, Laine Sklar and Henry Gooday.
Gooday is a judge in Pinal County, while Sklar is currently the Marana senior assistant town attorney.