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Vote will decide the future of Kalispell city airport

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Oct 22 2013 06:23:53 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 22 2013 06:58:07 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

A critical vote in Kalispell will have big implications on the direction the city's municipal airport will go. People will decide whether to repeal a $16 million project to upgrade and expand the city airport.

The project includes a new 4,200-ft. runway, a new ful-length taxiway parallel to the runway and a new public use helipad.

The new runway would be 500 feet longer than the current one. That lets pilots make an easier landing.

"It'll keep us a lot safer,” said Kenneth Good, owner of Kalispell Air Repair, an airplane mechanic shop located at the city airport.

He calls the current condition of the runway and taxiways poor.

"You put a brand new motor in an airplane and he goes out and taxis to his hangar and picks up rocks off of the taxiways because they’re not kept up and ruins a new prop," said Good.

The Federal Aviation Association has promised the city to pay for 90 percent of the project, roughly $14.4 million. The remainder would up to the city.

But the FAA is promising to reimburse the city for a $3 million project built back in 2005.

Bottom line, the city would gain $1.5 million.

But it's not just money to some.  The airport's near a neighborhood. Some folks feel it's a quality of life issue, and don't want to see or hear more airplanes.

"Certainly the people over on the west side of town are weary of the noise and danger," said Kalispell resident Bil Nutter.

If the vote to repeal the project wins, the city council will have to figure out what to do next, and closing the airport could be on that list.