Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Spaceport funding crashes

Money sent back to general fund

 


More than $8 million will be carried onto the current budget and while it may sound like the city’s budget problems are solved, that amount is already earmarked.

The carryover reflects projects previously budgeted for or already underway and includes work paid for through the sixth-penny improvement tax and other funding methods. While the list of projects includes funding for the U.P. Depot project, city vehicle replacement and improvements on Hitching Post Drive, a $97,050 line item for the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport caught the attention of a few councilmen.

“I thought that had been crushed,” Councilman Gary Killpack said.

According to City Administrator Reed Clevenger, the money was originally budgeted as matching funds for improvement grants awarded to the spaceport.

They could also be used by the city’s airport advisory committee. Clevenger said some of the uses under discussion by committee members include fixing the fence around the property and purchasing a windsock.

Many of the grants available for use at the spaceport require a match of at least 10 percent and according to Clevenger, the committee continues to investigate other ways of making improvements to the landing strip and property. However, council members agreed they did not want additional city funds invested into the spaceport and Councilman Allan Wilson said he wasn’t aware of the funds’ existence during the city’s budget meetings. Killpack made an amendment to bring the $97,050 into the city’s general budget, which was unanimously supported by the other members.

While hardly discussed now, the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport was once floated as a viable economic opportunity for the city. Former Mayor Hank Castillon, along with former City Administrator Marty Black, helped push the idea the landing strip could generate income for the city through tourism and industrial uses. A master plan was completed, a document needed to apply for grants offered by the Federal Aviation Administration, but support for an overhaul of the landing strip and surrounding property evaporated. Members of the airport advisory committee also stated they were more interested in smaller improvements to allow them to use the airfield.

 

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