MONTE VISTA - Last Wednesday, Nov. 13, Monte Vista city hall hosted a public open house to display the Monte Vista airport’s masterplan. The community was invited to come out and see all of the exciting improvements they are hoping to make. They had informational displays set up for people to view with proposed alternatives they are looking into.
The airport which hasn’t seen many updates in the last 35 years, is ready for a much needed face-lift. Plans are being put forth and finalized to improve the runway reconstruction, hangar development, fuel facility alternatives and many more projects. They are hoping to make most of these improvements over the next 20 years. These last few months they have already started to make a few improvements around the airport.
One of the most recent projects they’ve completed is contracting with a new Fixed Base Operator, Jed Ellithorpe of Alpine Aviation, who is updating the pilot’s lounge. The city was able to purchase some paint and some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteered their time and did the painting. Slowly they have also been able to install new furniture and decorate. Another feature they have been able to provide is a courtesy vehicle to loan to visiting pilots.
The hydraulic lift gate that is to be replaced and will be big improvement for the airport. Fixing the existing gate would create safety issues, so they are looking into replacing it with a simpler rolling gate. The new gate would still be able to operate in the snow, and public works would be able to perform maintenance. The old gate’s maintenance is done by a company in Greeley which is expensive. By installing the new gate, they will be able to cut costs dramatically.
Even though these improvements may have taken a few years, the city and all those involved have been committed to making sure these projects are done right. “This city, its public, and the advisory board have been great about saying if we’re going to do it let’s do it right,” said aviation planner Justin Heid.
The Monte Vista airport was started in 1955. Today it mainly serves general aviation aircraft that range from small single-engine piston planes to medium twin-engine turbo prop-aircraft. According to the city’s website, the airport is classified with an Airport Reference Code (ARC) of B-I small, meaning the airfield is designed for aircraft with approach speeds up to 121 knots, weighing less than 12,500 lbs. and wingspans up to, but not including, 49 feet. The typical aircraft in this ARC include small-medium sized twin-engine piston driven aircraft, such as the Piper Navajo or Beech Baron 58. Through the process of the master plan it has been determined that the airport will be classified as a B-II small airport, which will accommodate the longer winged agricultural aircraft that utilize the airport every year.
For 64 years the Monte Vista airport has been providing private pilots and emergency aircraft a safe place to land in the San Luis Valley. With this new masterplan they hope to continue to provide this service for years to come. More information about the city’s airport masterplan can be found through a link on the city’s website: Monte Vista Airport Master Plan http://www.cityofmontevista.com/2148/Airport.