Chelan County is in the process of updating the Cashmere-Dryden Airport Layout Plan to address the airport’s needs for the next 20 years.
The process will unlock federal money to make improvements at the airport but must first fulfill changes required by Federal Aviation Administration.
Chelan County Economic Services director Ron Cridlebaugh says the city of Cashmere has made one of the changes by rearranging access to the airport.
"You basically pulled in at the end of the runway with your car when you were going to access the airport," said Cridlebaugh. "Vehicles and airplanes don't mix well. Now that's closed. The other gate's open."
Other changes needed to qualify for federal money at the Cashmere-Dryden Airport include separating the taxiway from the runway over safety concerns.
The Layout Plan will be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval.
Cridlebaugh and county commissioner Shon Smith attended a meeting last week with the Planning Advisory Committee at the airport.
Smith says one of the more expensive changes the FAA is requiring is moving the runway itself.
"Kicking the runway over about 30 feet and then west about 70 feet is kind of what the need is," said Smith. "And there is an unwilling seller at the end of the runway to the west that would need to be considered before anything can be done."
The runway will also need to be widened by 10 feet to meet FAA requirements.
The city of Cashmere has one of its pump houses for supply of city water on the airport property. Vehicle access to the pump house has been redirected from the runway.
The Airport Layout Plan will identify what the airport would like to accomplish in the next two decades. It will identify potential projects and, eventually, a preferred alternative.
Upon completion, the draft Airport Layout Plan will be sent to the FAA for its review and comments. Eventually, the FAA would approve and accept the plan, which would likely come in about three years.
Funding for future projects at the airport will typically come from a variety of agencies, including the FAA and WSDOT.
Funding for the Airport Layout Plan will actually be 90 percent financed by an FAA grant along with 5 percent from a WSDOT grant and the remaining 5 percent coming from a local match.
There are currently 38 aircraft based at the airport, including 31 single engine planes and eight experimental/light sport aircraft.
Annual operations of aircraft at the airport totaled 4,180 in 2022.
In 2021 the Cashmere-Dryden Airport was used to support a firefighter ground unit during the “Big Apple Fire.”
The airport sits on 21 acres which is owned by Chelan County. Most of the land is in unincorporated Chelan Couty, although a portion is inside the Cashmere city limits and urban growth zone.