(Aspen, CO) Six years after the first 20-Year Master Plan for the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport was completed a new “study committee” convened this month to not only ensure the plan is meeting the demands of the airport, but to potentially add projects to the plan that enhance the operation into the future. A cross-section of the community was invited to serve on the 40-plus-member committee including local pilots, government officials from as far away as Glenwood Springs, resort officials including the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Stay Aspen Snowmass and the Ski Company, and residents of neighborhoods bordering the airport among others.
“It’s crucial to the success of the Airport Master Plan that we include the community in the process,” said Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Director, Jim Elwood. “Our airport is among the most valuable assets in Pitkin County. We want to hear from anyone who has an opinion or a question about the future of our airport,” Elwood said.
Two public “facility planning charrettes” are planned during the month of January. The public is encouraged to attend one and give input into facility planning for the all airport facilities including the terminal, fixed base operation, hangers, etc. The charrettes will be held on Tuesday, January 11th and Thursday, January 13th from 6 to 9 pm at the Airport Operations Center on Owl Creek Road on the west side of the runway. Anyone interested in participating should RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
“We’ll be looking exclusively at airport facilities during these first charrettes,” Elwood said. “The terminal building is top on the list. With all of the additional security measures we are required to take post 9/11, it’s tight. Our terminal is too small to comfortably accommodate passengers in the secure boarding area, to provide enough restrooms, etc,” Elwood said.
This is the second comprehensive 20-year master planning effort at the airport. The first effort completed in 2004 resulted in a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for a runway extension and the completion of the Airport Operations Center on the west side of the runway, among other improvements. After an extensive Environmental Impact Study, groundbreaking for the runway extension project is expected next spring.
The airport planning firm of Mead and Hunt is leading the effort. Paid for with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the updated master plan is expected to result in recommendations to the BOCC for enhancements at the airport into the future.
The newly-formed citizen master plan group is expected to meet about every three months for a year and more frequently if necessary to formulate a recommendation for the BOCC. The public can follow the master planning process online at www.aspenairportplanning.com.