Airport `decision yours,’ Glenwood council told |

Airport `decision yours,’ Glenwood council told

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Steve Shute and Joe O’Donnell told City Council Thursday what they see as the “plane” truth about the debate on whether to close the city airport.

The two presented a report assembled by the Ad Hoc Airport Committee, and explained their opposing opinions.

Each man gave a 10-minute spiel – Shute supported keeping the airport open, while O’Donnell favored permanently closing the airport in favor of other uses.

“In the packet there’s no decision, because the decision is yours,” Shute told council.

Shute spun tales of local kids who learned to fly at the airport, then started careers in aviation.

“You can’t get more romantic than that,” he said after telling each tale.

He said many businesses use the airport and reminded council that the decision to close the airport can be made only once. Also, he estimated that any change in use likely will cost the city millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.

“You can’t let the airport die from a thousand cuts,” he said. “We’ve been talking about closing the airport for 30 years . If we’re going to close this thing, let’s close it. If we’re going to keep it open, let’s make it viable.”

O’Donnell represented those who want the airport closed and used as either a new location for Glenwood Springs High School or residential and other mixed uses.

The Garfield County Airport in Rifle, he said, is just 20 minutes away and there are two other airports within an hour’s drive.

The closure, he said, would be “an inconvenience for 50 pilots and the loss of 2.5 jobs.”

“It’s going to be a tough decision if you want to make it,” O’Donnell said. “It’s not going to be the most popular decision.”

Council members listened to each report and said they plan to hold a work session on the topic sometime in April, then start to make decisions.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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