Airport Master Plan, fuel farm move forward
PINEDALE – A significant portion of the Aug. 28 Pinedale Town Council meeting was devoted to the Pinedale Airport-Ralph Wenz Field.
Wes Werbelow, an engineer at Ardurra Group, Inc., presented an update on the Airport Master Plan to council members.
A master plan is a comprehensive document identifying problems in the town’s infrastructure and outlining possible solutions to solve these problems. A sound master plan includes actionable items to maintain and improve a community’s infrastructure.
The Airport Master Plan does not commit the town to follow through on any of the recommended alternatives or projects discussed during the presentation.
Pinedale’s Airport Master Plan went through “quite the process” to reach the town council, said Abram Pearce, the town’s director of public works. A draft of the master plan received the green light from both the Pinedale Airport Board and the Technical Advisory Committee, including the U.S. Forest Service, a group of airport users, Emblem Aviation and Airport Board members, Pearce added.
Werbelow discussed several potential alternatives in the master plan that are intended to boost business at the airport. Because Werbelow and his team deemed the runway and taxiway as “adequate,” the engineers focused on the possible expansion of hangar space and parking, along with sprucing up the entrance area at the airport.
Engineers also looked at the location for a U.S. Forest Service operational campus at the airport if the agency should decide to pursue such a facility in the future, said Werbelow.
The professionals at Ardurra recommended the town consider acquiring additional land around the airport for future expansion of hangar space, Werbelow told council members.
Representatives from the Mocroft Family, the owners of a considerable portion of property surrounding the airport, attended the Aug. 28 meeting. Mayor Murdock stressed to the family and council that the town did not intend to purchase any land at this time, that the Mocroft Family would be included in any future negotiations over the sale of their property and that the family was under no obligation to sell.
The Airport Master Plan also included improvements to the entrance and central area of the airport to make the layout more user friendly for visitors and to block out areas for future commercial business development near the terminal and central apron, Werbelow continued.
The next steps involve “integrating” the Airport Master Plan into the airport layout plan, Werbelow said. The eventual goal will be to present a draft of the Airport Master Plan at a public community meeting before submitting it to the Federal Aviation Administration, said Rick Patton, an engineer at Ardurra.
Fuel Farm update
The town received approval for a $440,000 loan through the Wyoming State Land and Investment (SLIB) Board’s capital construction loan program to install a new fuel farm at the airport, Pearce announced. SLIB’s green light on the loan means that the project is funded and the town can now proceed on constructing a permanent facility to replace the temporary fuel trailers currently in use at the airport, Pearce added.
The $440,000 loan is tied to the 10-year treasury bond and the interest rate is 4.36 percent, Pearce told the Roundup.
The town is in the process of applying for a separate grant to fund the fuel farm project through federal American Rescue Plan Act monies distributed by SLIB, said Pearce. If the grant application is approved by SLIB, the amount would cover 74 percent of the loan to erect the fuel farm, Pearce continued.
Town staff are hopeful SLIB will consider the grant application at the agency’s next meeting in October, Pearce noted.
Council members passed a unanimous motion to approve a notice of award for Bassco Services, Inc., to install the new fuel farm. Bassco Services specializes in aviation fuel farm systems and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
Bassco Services submitted the low bid for the project, town documents stated.
Preliminary work on the fuel farm is expected to begin this fall, said Pearce, although the town is still awaiting the delivery of a fuel tank. The town hopes to wrap the project up next spring or summer, Pearce added.
The town council passed a resolution by a 4-0 vote formally setting the date for an auction to sell the plot of town-owned land on Pine Street where the old town hall once stood on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. The auction will take place at the new Pinedale Town Hall on 205 Entertainment Lane.
The sale will follow a descending auction format, also known as a “Dutch auction.” In contrast to a more traditional ascending auction, a descending auction begins at a maximum price determined by the seller. An auctioneer then drops the price by a set interval until a purchaser makes the only, and final, bid of the sale.
The resolution established a deadline for potential buyers to register for the auction at 4 p.m., Mountain Standard Time, on Oct. 10. The closing date was set for Nov. 2.
The town intends to advertise the sale for five weeks in local and regional publications.
Pinedale will hire a professional auctioneer to conduct the sale and organize the logistics so the Dutch auction will runs smoothly, said Mayor Murdock.