Port Authority Weighs Future Of Little Used Mansfield Airport
The future of the Mansfield Airport in Douglas County is in question because of its poor condition, lack of funding and limited traffic.
Chelan Douglas Port Authority Commissioners discussed the possibility of closing the airport Tuesday.
The Port owns the airport, which only had five landings in September.
Port CEO Jim Kuntz says the upkeep is mounting for the airstrip, that doesn't get a lot of grant funding.
"(It'll cost) probably $350,000 in the next two or three years if we decided to do any capital preservation out there, so that's where we're at," said Kuntz.
Total grant funding from the state, which flows from the Department of Transportation, has totaled about $159,000 since 1996. The last grant funding from the state was issued in 1996.
Among the issues facing it is the poor conditions of its asphalt and runway markings, according to AirNav.com.
The airport's rotating beacon is also out of service. In order to get WSDOT grant funding to make repairs, the Port would have to commit to operating the airport for period of years, according to discussion Tuesday among staff members and Port commissioners.
Kuntz thinks the Port should try to get the City of Mansfield involved in financially supporting the airport.
"The next step is to engage the city of Mansfield," said Kuntz. "They've got a new mayor. They have a city council. We need to go talk with them. This is your airport. We don't think there's a lot of use in it."
Kuntz also suggested the Port could talk to WSDOT about getting out of it's obligation to the airport.
"The question for WSDOT is, there's not enough traffic to support the airport, we want get out of our assurance," Kuntz said. "What will it cost us to get out of the assurance. We need to ask the question."
The Mansfield airport has no lighting system and can only be used during the daytime.
Commissioners did not make any formal decision on the airport Tuesday.