After five public meetings and five committee meetings held over an 18-month period, the Mesquite city council approved an updated master plan for the airport located on the east side of the city. The update was managed by Rick Patton, GDA Engineers, and paid for primarily by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The master plan had to be updated in order for us to take advantage of our entitlement funding that we receive every year from the FAA,” Bill Tanner, Public Works Director, said at the Tuesday, June 13 council meeting. The plan, previously approved by the FAA, will now go back to the agency for final acceptance.
“Your airport is pretty much like it needs to be,” Patton said. “The question in Mesquite is always about whether the airport needs to be moved and build a bigger one. We didn’t find that necessary. We did find some design standard issues and some safety problems. But there’s no need to expand and go big with it.”
The single runway at 5,121 feet long and 75 feet wide may eventually have to be extended a small distance but that would take it into neighboring Arizona. Patton said the extension will take quite a bit of coordination because it would be a multi-state effort.
“Your airport is one of few that runs in the black financially,” Patton said. “You’re doing great managing your facility from a fiscal point of view. You’re managing your capital improvements quite well.”
Most of the revenue generated by the airport comes from fuel sales to transiting aircraft. The city also receives $14,000 a year from the BLM that uses the airport for aircraft to fight wildfires in the local area. Other revenue comes from Mercy Air and a skydiving club.
New fencing is planned around the perimeter of the airport and according to Tanner, construction should begin later this year during the dormant season for the desert tortoise. The fence is intended to keep wildlife away from the runways and facilities. A new security gate will also be installed near the current entrance.
Because the issue of safety had been addressed at one of the public meetings, Councilman George Rapson noted that only 11 accidents or safety incidents involving aircraft, with three fatalities, had occurred since the airport was initially built in 1988. Two of the fatalities were the result of a skydiving accident in October 2011.
In other council business, Mayor Al Litman was appointed to the Clark County School District Oversight Panel for School Facilities; new human resource software services were approved; Atkins consulting firm was selected to provide engineering services for the Town Wash to El Dorado storm drain project; and a new contract for third party collection agency services for the Mesquite Municipal court was adopted.