Plan could help airport take off

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Cassville City Council adopted a master plan for the municipal airport and discussed the Cassville YMCA program at Monday night's meeting.

Brittie Oakley, with Sprenkle and Associates engineers, provided aldermen with an overview of the master plan process, which will guide the growth of the Cassville Municipal Airport for the next 20 years.

Oakley explained that the master plan was a planning document.

"The purpose of the plan is to do a 20-year projected planning for your airport," said Oakley. "As of July 1, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had approved the plan as we set forth."

Currently, the airport has one 3,600-foot long by 60-foot wide runway that runs east and west. There are six tiedowns at the airport and approximately 12 aircrafts based at the Cassville airport. By 2030, projections laid out in the master plan predict there could be 27 airplanes based in Cassville and an increase in annual operations from the current 3,800 a year to 8,100 in 2030. Operations include takeoffs and landings.

In order to accommodate this kind of growth, the master plan calls for extending the existing runway to 4,300 feet. There are also plans to possibly construct a north-south runway farther in the future.

"The larger runway will allow bigger aircraft to land," said Oakley.

City Administrator Eugene Dilbeck explained that the master plan would help the city acquire federal funding to complete any of the airport expansion projects the council may wish to pursue.

"They (the FAA and Missouri Department of Transportation Aviation) told us they would approve the project to extend the runway if we got the master plan approved," said Dilbeck. "We currently receive $150,000 from the FAA Development Block Grant program each year, and we can submit plans to them for additional funding if the projects keep growing."

Currently, the airport lighting project is being completed through the use of this funding, which requires a 5 percent match from the city.

Dilbeck also spoke to the council about the need for the city to conduct public educational forums about airport safety zones for people who live near and around the airport.

"We have to educate our landowners about height limits surrounding the airport," said Dilbeck. "The property owner is liable if they build something on their property that is taller than the FAA permits and an airplane hits that. After the first of the year, we need to hold public hearings and meetings to let people know about this."

Mike Schlichtman, chairman of the Airport Advisory Board, was present at Monday's council meeting in support of the airport master plan.

"The advisory board agrees that the extension of the runway should be the next focus if we're going to get small business jets in," said Schlichtman. "Now that we have the master plan we can begin to move forward and grow the airport."

The council voted unanimously to adopt the airport master plan.

YMCA presentation

Aldermen also heard a presentation on the Cassville YMCA and the programs the organization offers to local citizens from Gordon Brown, executive director of the area YMCA, and Bob Crouthamel, the Cassville YMCA's activities director. Dove Haney, director of the Cassville YMCA, was also present.

Since the fall of 2005, the City of Cassville has contracted with the Cassville YMCA to run the city's youth sports programs and operate the Cassville Aquatic Center. In the spring of 2007, the Cassville YMCA opened a membership facility in the Cassville Gymnastics Center on Highway 248 in Cassville. In three short years, the local YMCA has grown to over 1,100 members and serves countless others through its youth and adult sports programs.

"We see the Cassville YMCA as being a success," said Brown. "We're looking to grow and do more. The city has been great to us."

Crouthamel described the various activities offered through the YMCA, which include youth flag football and soccer, tumbling and cheer, adult softball and flag football, summer camps, sports camps and special events such as Healthy Kids Day and the Chili Runs 5K.

"There are a lot of excellent things happening at The Y," said Crouthamel. "It's more than just the gym and weights. It's about reaching out to families, reaching out to kids."

Alderman Mark Pry asked Brown if the YMCA could provide the city with a profit and loss statement due to the fact that city money is being paid to the YMCA each month. Brown said he would gladly comply and had already given Dilbeck a copy of the YMCA's financial statement.

Pry also asked if the Cassville YMCA would ever be able to operate at a profit.

"Our goal is to operate at break even in each community," said Brown.

The difficult part is the costs associated with operating the pool, Brown said. Last year, the pool operated at a $26,000 loss.

"Ultimately, we work to serve the community in whatever way we can," said Brown.

Mayor Tracy Holle said she would like the YMCA to make an annual report to the council like the one presented on Monday night.

"The purpose is the show us what you do at the YMCA, because we're asked by the citizens," said Holle. "That's why I wanted you to come, so people could be more informed and you could tell us about the benefits of what you are offering."

Other business

In other business, the council:

* Authorized a change order with Seven Valleys Construction for the Southern Hills sewer project. The project remains $13,000 under budget including the latest change order, Dilbeck said.

* Paid bills totalling $179,590.65.

* Approved a $7,006.55 purchase order for supplies to construct a water line to Security Bank. Dilbeck said the city public works crew was ready to put in the line once the final easement from Cox is received. "We anticipate that coming in any day now," said Dilbeck.

* Accepted a bid for the city's 2011 bulk alum from Watermark at a price of 10.5 cents per pound. Watermark was the low bid out of three qualified bidders. The city is currently paying 12 cents per pound for its alum.

* Issued a notice to proceed to Strukel Electric for the airport lighting project, which is currently underway.

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