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City must still build wildlife fence around airport

Friday, March 4, 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska -- With the possibility of losing essential air service at the McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport in October, city staff unsuccessfully explored the possibility of avoiding the expense of the new wildlife fence it was directed to construct earlier this year. The estimated $970,344 fence project was the result of an FAA required wildlife assessment of the airport and is planned to be primarily funded by grants, with the city responsible for $43,083.

Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told the Airport Advisory Commission Thursday afternoon, during a regularly scheduled meeting at Heritage Senior Center, that the fence would still be a requirement in order for the airport to maintain its part 139 airport certification, which allows for small 10-30 seat airlines.

City staff also informed board members that they had reached out to airlines, looking for options if the approximately 1.7 to 1.9 million dollars in federal funds supplementing annual air service is pulled. Although several options remain, including bus service to other airports and limiting flights to a weekly basis, the airlines were clear in communicating to city staff that nothing would be pursued until the federal debate was over and the dust settled.

2010-11 enplanement numbers were presented at the meeting, which show the number of people boarding at the airport.

February 2011 showed a 33 percent decrease in passengers, dropping from 136 to 90 and ending a 10 month consecutive streak of increases versus prior year. 2010 as a whole ended at a 17 percent increase over 2009, 1,950 total passengers versus the 1,656 of 2009.


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Shouldn't Ben Nelson pay for it?

-- Posted by Justin76 on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 12:14 AM

I would sure hate to see the City lose out on a Grant opportunity like this. The City has to put up less than 5% of the total cost - how often does that opportunity come around?

If there was some way of ensuring that local hire was a part of any awarded contract for construction, it would amount to a nice sized economic boost to the local economy and possibly address some of the short term local unemployment issues.

Maybe the community college would be interested in assisting in exchange for some on the job training in public works planning and construction experience for students that may be interested in this field.

Here is an opportunity to generate some local jobs, let's don't let it slip through the cracks without exploring all the possible options.

Let's put our thinking caps on and figure a way of making this possible.

-- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 5:47 PM

You said it Geezer. Keep the money local. Maybe the city would come up with ideas and get more work for local people instead of letting a trailer manufacturing company go to a small town. If the city wants to grow, they need to take notes from this small town. I'm pretty sure they know where that small town is located.

-- Posted by edbru on Mon, Mar 7, 2011, at 12:46 PM

Let's see if I understand this. The cities share is $43,083, which of course will be paid by tax payers and it's going to be an economic boost to the city????? And once the project is complete will not generate any long term employment, but continual cost for up-keep?? And where does the free grant money come from?? Come on people, our grandchildren must be so proud of us:-(

-- Posted by remington81 on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 8:27 AM

remington81

The funds come from the same source as the billion dollars Nebraska receives in Agriculture Subsidy Funds each year. Nearly every county in Nebraska is suffering from population loss and job loss - isn't it only fair to assure all our citizens can obtain Federal Funds assistance for needs they consider best for their interests and their communities?

Your argument that it will not create any long term employment, but the costs for maintenance will continue - could apply to nearly every type of Municipal Project ever built. Sewer Systems, Water Systems, Road Systems, Lighting systems, Irrigation Systems, etc. Most people call that progress, and with progress comes opportunity.

The Airport Facility has one final requirement before being fully compliant with the FAA Part 139 airport certification process - wildlife control fencing. This is not typical fencing construction as you would see around the country side, therefore the high initial cost. The long term maintenance of this type of system is very minimal. However, the loss of human life and lawsuits involved with a plane accident due to lack of animal control - could be very damaging.

Following is a link to the FAA Construction Standards. Section VIII, item F163 addresses animal deterrent fencing (MS Word format).

http://www.faa.gov/airports/engineering/...

-- Posted by Geezer on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 2:23 PM

Wow, that's a stretch! Comparing a fence to sewer, water, road, lighting and irrigation systems??

And I know the fence has to be built, never said it didn't. Just another added expense on our grand children!

-- Posted by remington81 on Wed, Mar 9, 2011, at 4:02 PM

No stretch at all - it is part of the overall functionality of the Airport Facility.

I am sure our parents had the same concern as you, do you now use any of the systems they paid for?

-- Posted by Geezer on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 8:49 AM

So..... It has to be done, no arguments on that issue, let's just complain about it. Complaining is so fruitful and productive!

Remington, this fencing would be considered infrastructure. It needs to be done, its not an option, so far as I'm aware, there have been no philanthropists throwing $ at the project so what's to discuss? Let the airport shut down due to non-compliance?..... How about the hospital, school system, grocery stores and gas stations....that ought to take the burden right off of my grandchildren's shoulders. Don't have to pay for transportation, medical care, education, food, or fuel! Why haven't we thought of this before? Problem solved!

Complain complain complain, what we NEED is less talk and more action from those that know how to save a dime.... Instead we just get expert opinions of how wrong things are being done with no advice on how to do it right. Hiding your head in the sand doesn't make the threat of danger go away, it just makes it impossible to see it coming and gives a fake sense security.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Tue, Mar 15, 2011, at 1:18 AM


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