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Commissioners look to build another large hangar at airport

Will they come if you build it?

In Rowan County’s case, commissioners hope business will come with enough frequency to bring an uptick in airport construction.

Rowan County Commissioners on Monday took a step toward building a second 15,000-square foot hangar at the Rowan County Airport, when they picked engineering firm Talbert, Bright and Ellington to design a community hangar. Commissioners’ vote asked County Manager Aaron Church to negotiate a contract with the engineering firm, which has offices in Charlotte, and bring it back for final approval in September.

The county’s plans for new facilities have changed several times over recent months. Monday’s decision by commissioners was the farthest that new hangar construction has gotten.

Originally, Rowan County Airport officials favored the construction of T-hangars — primarily used for small, private aircraft. Later, the airport looked to build box hangars, which are larger but can’t fit corporate jets. Earlier this year, the airport board voted to proceed with the construction of a large, community hangar. The hangar is intended to be nearly identical to the one being leased to airplane charter company Strategic Moves.

“The best thing from a tax revenue standpoint and economic development standpoint would be to build another community hangar,” County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said during Monday’s meeting. “We knew we had plans already drawn up for a 15,000-square foot building and we can use that again.”

The cost of building four medium-sized hangars would be the same or more than one, large hangar, said County Commissioner Craig Pierce. He cited the cost as another reason to build a larger hangar.

Strategic Moves, which will be the largest company at the airport when it begins operations, will be housed in a hangar that’s 15,000 square feet, has 4,200 square feet of office space and a pricey foam suppression system for fires.

The proposed hangar at the Rowan County Airport will be nearly identical in size. It won’t however include the same amount of office space, Pierce said.

Pierce, who serves as a liaison to the airport board, said the proposed hangar would be built in a spot that doesn’t allow for additional office space. Instead, it will have a bathroom and small lounge area — for pilots to store equipment and relax after flights.

Estimates for the new hangar have hovered around $2 million.

As commissioners briefly discussed the community hangar, Pierce pondered whether commissioners would need to build more hangars as soon as construction wraps on the proposed facility.

“Literally, we’ll be out of hangar space as soon as we build this one, because of the aircraft that (Strategic Moves) has assured us he will bring,” Pierce said. “We also have a new aircraft on site and we’re negotiating with another. Even if we build 15,000 square feet, we’re probably going to be looking at this time next year having the same conversation about more hangars.”

Pierce said having a lack of space is a significant improvement for the airport over the position it was in five years ago.

Vice Chairman Jim Greene was the only other commissioner to speak during discussion about the community hangar. Greene asked whether building another hangar of identical size would be too large. Edds and Pierce responded by mentioning a few economic development prospects. Pierce said one large jet could make the hangar worthwhile.

In other business during Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners declared a site at 5680 Wright Road in Kannapolis as a public health nuisance.

Planning Director Ed Muire says the site has continually been used to store various wastes.

The property owner could appeal commissioners’ decision within 30 days. If the decision isn’t appealed, Planning Department staff could negotiate a contract for the removal of waste and place a lien on the property.

• Commissioners voted to designate the Peter Kern House and Grounds as a Rowan County Historical Landmark.

The Peter Kern House is located at 1360 Kern Carlton Road on a 12.6 acre property.

• Commissioners voted to rezone a 5-acre parcel of land on the 13000 block of Statesville Boulevard from rural agricultural to commercial business industrial.

The property is about one half mile outside of Cleveland. Aaron Goss, of Goss Farms, said he intends to place a malting facility on the property. It would produce malt from barley and other grains.

Malt is used in the production of beer, but Goss said he doesn’t have plans to produce beer at the site. He would only produce the malt.

• Commissioners voted to amend a conditional district permit and allow a Dollar General store to locate on the 5100 block of U.S. 601.

The proposed site is just north of Salisbury.

Commissioners raised concerns about how the store might affect traffic, and asked the petitioner if he would explore the possibility of adding another entrance to the parking lot.

• Commissioners voted to allow the Rowan County Honor Guard to use a space at West End Plaza for meetings

The space is intended to eventually be used for Veterans Services.

As a part of their vote, Commissioners would only allow the honor guard to use the space until renovation work starts.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

 

 

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