Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

Airport project underway

 


Work has started on the new aviation terminal at the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport.

The project, which will cost $5.4 million, will replace a building originally constructed in the 1920s. Funding comes from the FAA, Wyoming Business Council, the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division and the State Lands and Investments Board, making the project 100 percent grant funded.

The new hangar is expected to be complete in December, while the terminal is expected to be operational in April 2018. The facility will serve the general aviation portion of the airport’s business, which accounts for 87 percent of its operating revenue.

Jim Wamsley, chairman of the airport’s board of directors, said the airport’s manager, Devon Brubaker, originally came to the board with a plan to replace its aging airport terminal shortly after he was hired.

“The airport serves as one of two gateways into our community for tourism and business. The existing facilities stopped serving the needs of our community decades ago and are severely overdue for replacement,” Brubaker said in a media release in April.

The project, according to Rock Springs Mayor Carl Demshar, will create an economic building block for both the city and county.

He believes the new terminal will improve the airport’s position as a regional airfield for years.

Sweetwater County Commissioner Reid West remembers going to the airport as an eight-year-old with his parents, commenting the original terminal “seemed old at that time.”

West said the project is timely because replacing the terminal is a long overdue project. He also said Sweetwater County has often paid its own way in regards to infrastructure improvements, but admits the grant money used for the project is appreciated.

“We’re very blessed and grateful,” West said. “We do not take these grants for granted.”

Governor Matt Mead said one of the major issues facing Wyoming’s economic development is the lack of infrastructure needed to maintain large companies, which has caused many corporations originally interested in Wyoming to develop elsewhere.

“I can’t tell you how important it is for Wyoming to build up air infrastructure,” Mead said.

As a voting member of SLIB, Mead said one of the most important aspects he looks for in grant applications is if the money will go to a community that “will make it work.”

“Yes, this is the right place for this grant,” he said.

 

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