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Columbia Regional Airport advisory board asked to submit strategic plan to council

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | 7:40 p.m. CDT; updated 5:31 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A strategic plan to guide future development at Columbia Regional Airport has been in the works for more than a year. An earlier version of this story misstated how long the plan has been in creation.

COLUMBIA — City Manager Mike Matthes joined a meeting of the Columbia Airport Advisory Board on Wednesday to discuss a strategic plan in the works to guide future airport development.

The Airport Advisory Board has been working to create the strategic plan for more than a year. The board will start reviewing a draft plan in August.

Columbia Regional Manager Andrew Schneider will be in charge of putting more information into the draft before next month's meeting.

Parts of an Airport Master Plan approved in 2009 might be incorporated into the strategic plan. The master plan outlined $64 million in projects over the next 20 years, addressing improvements to infrastructure including runways, taxiways and fencing.

The strategic plan will address other airport development such as more commercial air service and adding cargo service and new businesses, Jill Stedem, spokeswoman for the city's Public Works Department, said in an e-mail correcting an earlier version of this story.

Matthes said the city is seeking strategic plans from different businesses for the next fiscal year and will attempt to incorporate the initiative into the city’s vision as soon as possible.

“If there’s a way for you to cross the finish line in the next few months, that would be fantastic,” Matthes said to the board.

Members of the advisory board were eager to ask Matthes about Des Moines International Airport in Iowa, the city where Matthes worked as assistant city manager before moving to Columbia.

Matthes also addressed questions about the airport authority at Des Moines International Airport and the possibility of implementing a similar airport oversight and governance program at Columbia Regional Airport, which is currently supervised by the city.

Matthes said creating a similar program could benefit Columbia Regional.

“Moving to an authority and really regionalizing the airport … that’s the way for the cheapest and smallest impact financially for a region to get a bigger terminal,” Matthes said.

Matthes said he was helping Des Moines create an airport authority until he vacated his position there. He said that program will be implemented in Des Moines in August.



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