Georgetown City Council voted March 25 to follow the Georgetown Transportation Advisory Boards recommendation to keep the municipal airport operating at its current location and continue with the implementation of the Airport Business Analysis for its management.
A group of Georgetown residents called Airport Concerned Citizens had asked the city to host a series of public meetings to find out if citizens would like the airport to be shut down, relocated or remain in its current location.
Georgetown resident Hugh Norris said he requested the city hire a third-party consultant to help lead the meetings to find a true citizens' consensus.
The master planning and methodical construction of a city airport is being carefully and quietly accomplished by a small group of the citys population who have treated the airport and the property as its own for the past 70 years and continued to this day, Norris said. In the ACC opinion, this has been done steadily, methodically and hidden from the view of the general public in order to create what has been endorsed by the [Federal Aviation Administration] and [Texas Department of Transportation] as a needed Central Texas Reliever Airport and do it in the very center of our growing city.
Georgetown Transportation Services Director Ed Polasek said the cost of closing the airport could be as high as $50 million and both the TxDOT and the FAA would have to approve the closure.
TxDOT has already said they wont agree to closing, Polasek said, adding that the transportation department pays 50 percent of the airports maintenance costs and 90 percent of its capital costs.
At its March 14 meeting GTAB recommended to city move forward with implementing the airports business analysis.
Polasek said the city has already begun implementing changes outlined in the analysis, including hiring an airport operations manager and a maintenance coordinator at the airport. The city is also moving forward with FAA required maintenance, including repairing lighting for the runway, designing a new fuel tank and building a parallel taxiway for planes waiting to take off.
Once those projects are completed, Polasek said the city could begin the process in fiscal year 2016 to update the airports master plan, which was last updated in 2005.