The Pocatello Regional Airport has about 1,500 acres of developmental land and city officials have been trying to bring business into the area to occupy the space but they have run into snags with the FAA.
Officials say some of the issues revolve around environmental reviews and grant assurances where they have to charge for market value.
“We’ve passed up a lot of money and so really don’t want to do that anymore,” said David Allen, airport manager. “We want to be able to develop, we have a plan, we want to be able to develop according to that plan, and we want to make sure we have that path forward before we entertain anybody else.”
The plan is to develop the 700 acres of industrial park in front of the airport with commercial retail, office professional and of course industrial business.
“That is important land not only for the development but also because it has access to the interstate, rail access and air access so there is a lot of potential with an airport of this nature and we want to be able to utilize it,” says Allen.
Project Pipe and the solar panel farm had to pull out of developing at the airport because they had a timeline to start building but kept being pushed back because of environmental reviews and other FAA red tape.
Allen believes there will be an agreement between the city and the FAA about development and that we will start seeing business come into the area.
“When we continue to add jobs, when we continue to add business, aviation and non-aviation, it has a cumulative effect. One company that builds here is going to have an impact downtown,” said Allen.
The airport currently has a $39 million dollar impact on the local economy and adding more business to airport land would only make that impact larger.