TARGET 8: Airport board members say they weren't looped in on $30 million terminal decision

1 month 5 days 16 hours ago Wednesday, March 21 2018 Mar 21, 2018 Wednesday, March 21, 2018 8:20:00 PM CDT March 21, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Sarah Trott, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - For those who have traveled through Columbia Regional Airport, it’s no doubt the small airport built in the 1960’s is in need of a new terminal.

However, the process on where to build the new terminal has taken three years, an enormous amount of taxpayer money and mixed reviews from some interested parties.

“It’s time we stop playing Mickey Mouse games and we be open with the public,” said frequent traveler and Airport Advisory Board member Mark Winter. Last year, Winter traveled nearly 200 times through COU on business trips and is now frustrated with the lack of “openness” throughout the process. 

Taxpayers fund pricey consultant findings 

In 2015, Columbia city council paid engineering company Parsons Brinckerhoff $866,435 to develop a terminal area master plan and provide six possible location sites for a new terminal. MoDOT reimbursed the city for 90 percent of the cost.

After months of surveying the land, the consultants recommended the new terminal to be built on a site northwest of the current terminal, called Alternative Site #2.

Although it was the most costly option at $38 million, it wouldn’t disrupt parking, would have the least environmental impact and offer the most flexibility for future needs, according to the report.

City leaders toss out expert report without consulting board members

Last December, city leaders put aside the expert findings from Parsons Brinckerhoff and came up with a new, "seventh site," one not even considered by the consultants, in order to expedite the building process.

“We want to use existing infrastructure out here to save on cost,” said airport manager Mike Parks. “We’re looking at timing and cost as one of the biggest decisions.”

Unlike the north site, the new, south site is estimated to cost around $30 million but would require a hangar to be dismantled, eliminate hundreds of free parking spots during construction and relocate tenants and a surrounding federal support building.

Parks said the decision-making process to move from the Alternative Site #2 to the south side was a “collaborative effort,” but that’s not what board member Mark Winter said.

“We weren’t really told about it, as a member of the airport board, it’s never really been told to us," Winter said. 

According to council notes, the current chair of the airport advisory board, Brian Whorley, was consulted before the announcement last fall.

But members Joe Henderson, BJ Hunter and Greg Cecil also confirmed with KOMU 8 News the airport board was not consulted. The board is an advising body and doesn’t vote on decisions; however, its purpose is to represent community interests and provide input.

At that December announcement, the city did not have a master plan in place and more recently was unable to provide specific estimates on enplanements, parking, number of gates or terminal design for the proposed site until the “due diligence” and environmental survey is completed, according to Parks.

Columbia community relations person Steven Sapp said, “Keep in mind this report is just a professional report that provided us with alternatives.” 

Parsons Brinckerhoff estimated growth at the airport would need to accommodate at least 120,000 departures a year and more than 1,200 parking spaces. According to Sapp, passenger usage is already surpassing those 2016 estimates. However, the proposed site doesn't provide specifics about whether it would be able to accommodate the expected growth. 

More construction beyond the new terminal is a possibility with no clear timeline

“When we design the terminal, it will be designed for future expansion. We have to look at future expansion. Nobody expected us to, but we’ve already exceeded our enplanement numbers,” Sapp said. He also said more construction in addition to the new terminal is a possibility down the line. 

The timeline still remains unclear on when construction will break ground or when the Federal Aviation Administration will approve the new site. Another $2.5 million in state money is expected to go toward the terminal project.

In the meantime, Winter said more parties should be involved and suggested the idea of creating an “airport authority.”

“Maybe it’s time we take it out of the control of the city of Columbia and put it into the control of an airport authority, regionalizing it between Columbia, Jefferson City, maybe even taking Callaway County in, so you have three counties that contain the airport authority that handles all the airports,” Winter said.

The board is expected to meet Thursday to discuss ongoing plans.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA—People in Columbia's Central Neighborhood are working to set new goals to promote safety and social equity in their community.... More >>
58 minutes ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 10:21:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - One person was killed in a crash Thursday afternoon in Cooper County. According to a Facebook... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 8:53:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 8:05:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
OAKLAND - Oakland Middle School hosted its second annual multicultural festival Thursday night. Students from over 30 countries performed and... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police are asking for the community's help in locating a runaway teenager last seen on April 26.... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:23:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - Rick Hess, Holts Summit City Administrator, is a registered republican and voted for President Donald Trump. “I... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 7:00:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
HANNIBAL - The Columbia College Cougars defeated the Hannibal-LaGrange Trojans today in both games of an AMC doubleheader. The Cougars... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:26:47 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - The growing number of school shootings is prompting mid-Missouri educators to take a close look at what they... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The latest on allegations involving Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local): 5:20 p.m. ... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:52:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Senators approved a budget bill Wednesday for K-12 public education that comes up $50 million short of... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:42:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals (15-9) wrapped up their three-game series with the New York Mets (15-8) in... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:41:26 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in Sports
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Missouri now has 10 cases of measles, including three students, according to health officials. The... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:38:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard says he has not yet decided whether to... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:35:58 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri civil engineers graded Missouri roads a D+ in their latest report card. That's down from a... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:25:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia Public School community service project that has students removing invasive honeysuckle is on hold after $700... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:05:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetam heard arguments from Govenor Eric Greitens and Attorney General Josh Hawley's... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 1:26:00 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party is seeking to boot four candidates from the primary ballot, including two... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 1:11:55 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Bill Cosby has been convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in first big celebrity trial... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 Thursday, April 26, 2018 12:57:04 PM CDT April 26, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
12am 56°
1am 54°
2am 53°
3am 53°