In the three-minute video Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter addresses some concerns and questions members of the public have expressed about the Airport Master Plan Update and a potential airport safety update that could follow.
The master plan update, often compared to a business plan by the city, will begin January of 2020 and take between eighteen months to two years to complete.
In the video Mayor Potter provides some background to the project.
“In the 1990’s Heber City accepted federal funding to improve the airport,” Potter explained. “By accepting grant money from the FAA, the city makes covenants that it will comply with Federal Aviation operational standards. The airport currently has in excess of 500 operations of small jets annually, which triggers the question of whether or not safety improvements should be made at the airport. Meeting these federal safety standards ensures the safety of the passengers, pilots, and planes as they maneuver on and around our airport.”
The Master Plan update will cost an estimated $580,000 with the FAA funding 90% of the project and the state of Utah funding about five percent. That leaves Heber City to fund the remaining five percent at an estimated cost of $27,781. Mayor Potter indicated that improving safety at the airport doesn’t mean that they would be encouraging larger aircraft at the airport.
“Although we cannot prevent any aircraft from landing in Heber, due to lack of technology and mountainous terrain it’s unlikely that larger aircraft would use the airport,” Potter continued. “These changes are also unlikely to bring a significant increase in traffic to the airport. It would however allow for those landing to arrive safely.”
The FAA previously has provided discretionary funds for improvements to the airport. The FAA has indicated the Heber Valley Airport is unlikely to receive future funds until they complete the Master Plan update. Those funds can provide up to 90% of costs for large projects, such as airfield capital improvements or rehabilitation projects.
“Without these federal funds a large percentage of maintenance, upkeep, and repair costs, would fall solely on Heber City taxpayers,” Potter said.
A website for the project is being constructed and will be unveiled within the next two months. Mayor Potter emphasized the outcome for the master plan is not predetermined.
“Just to be clear, no decisions have been made,” Potter explained. “We need to fully understand our options as well as the costs related to our decisions. Most importantly we need your help, and our entire communities help. Please get involved in the conversation by participating in our upcoming community meetings and discussions.”
You can find Heber Cities list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers here.