Airport alignment, proud of the airport, and importance of upholding the law
Identify airport alignment that doesn’t threaten long-term viability
Let me start by saying that I am not a pilot. I am, however, someone who has lived near the north end of the runway for the past 36 years, and was a member of the City Council on that day nearly 19 years ago when we had to evacuate one half of the town due to the Coal Seam Fire. I am also currently the chair of the Airport Commission. As such, I am in favor of a South Bridge to improve access and egress from the entire Three Mile, Four Mile and Midland corridors. After $5 million in federal funds was secured, the study of alternatives began in 2007, studying 33 alternatives and ultimately selecting the preferred alternative in 2013, an alternative that went underneath the south end of the runway through a cut and cover tunnel. An alternative that would close or severely limit airport operations would not have gone far in the process. In fact, in responses to public comments, the Record of Decision explicitly stated there would be no impacts to airport operations.
As a member of the Airport Commission, that is why it is so concerning to be told at this late stage that the city wants to save money on the project by not constructing a tunnel but instead to cut off the south end of the runway and possibly replace a portion of the lost length by extending it to the north, closer to Glenwood Park, the soccer field and the Red Cliff Condos.
Beyond the unanalyzed impacts to the airport facilities, it is still not known whether limiting the shortening of the runway to “only 43 feet” is even feasible; all that is known is that this new alternative will cut off 300 to 500 feet of the runway at the south end. The Glenwood Springs Airport is already the shortest airport in the state, at 3,305 feet, 500 feet shorter than the airport at Haxtun, which is nearly 2,000 feet lower in elevation, an extremely significant factor in aviation safety.
This process has been in active planning for 14 years, with millions spent in environmental and engineering studies. To make this drastic a change without further evaluation, at a level consistent with other studies, is breaking faith with the public. I ask that the City Council delay this decision to identify an alignment that does not threaten the long-term viability of the Glenwood Springs Airport.
Look to the future of our airport
Our airport in Glenwood Springs is worth a lot more than a $6 million savings on a $56 million South Bridge project. The bridge and airport are both vital and necessary. Gary Vick’s column in Monday’s Post Independent couldn’t say it better and is a must read to understand the short-sighted reasoning of councilors: Steve Davis’ “a pretty easy decision” and Tony Hershey voting for the least expensive option (the shortening of the runway was not even one of the 30-plus options). Council members are looking at killing the airport for condos. The airport has so much potential and already injects $17 million into the economy of Glenwood Springs. The airport has been voted on in the past and always approved overwhelmingly by the public. Let’s have a quality airport that we all can be proud of and look to the future.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten!”
— Leon M. Cautillo
Cheaper does not always equal better.
Solidarity with citizens who understand importance of upholding the law
Thanks to Sumner Schachter and John Korrie for their thoughtful contributions to Friday’s Post Independent.
When writing about the Jan. 30 Stay Free Colorado event, Schachter said, “It is dangerous to the rights, freedom and safety of all if we do not speak out against official sanction of dangerous falsehoods and conspiracy-based theories.” We all witnessed how that worked out on a national level Jan. 6.
Korrie spoke about our county commissioners “spending millions of our tax dollars to fight our state government when they make laws to protect the environment.” The majority of voters spoke decisively that we want to stop promoting oil and gas and move to protecting public health, safety, welfare and the environment.
I stand with all of our great Glenwood Springs citizens who support elected officials who uphold federal and state laws.
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Less is more?