Local News

Avon Park airport eyes new hangars, new taxiway

– Changes to help bring structural and economic growth to the Avon Park Executive Airport over the next five to 10 years are taking off.

The City of Avon Park has entered into an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation to demolish and reconstruct T-hangars for airplanes and build a new taxiway.

As part of the $762,500 project, current hangar tenants would be relocated to the new ones.

The existing hangars have to be relocated in order to build a taxiway for safer access to the runway, and the replacement is necessary in order to continue collecting revenue from T-hangar leases.

At the May 12 meeting of the Airport Community Redevelopment Agency, the board voted to approve a Joint Participation Agreement for the tear-down and reconstruction of T-hangars, and at the June 9 meeting of the Avon Park City Council councilors voted unanimously voted to authorize Mayor Sharon Schuler to enter into the JPA.

The agreement would help guarantee the FDOT would reimburse the city whenever it decides to begin work.

The new hangars would be designed and built near the airport’s east entrance off Bell Street.

Maria Sutherland, Avon Park director of administrative services, said the new hangars are part of FDOT’s fiscal year 2017-18, but construction could begin sooner if council members choose to loan funds to the airport before 2017.

The JPA approval is a “placeholder” for funding.

“We can start it now or we can start in three years. Either way, we are fully funded,” she said.

During a tour around the airport Monday, Avon Park CRA Aiport District Chairman John Barben pointed out how the project would impact the airport.

Barben, a licensed pilot, said the “master plan” for the work is the hangar, and a parallel taxiway work is part of the Airport CRA’s vision to attract more businesses to the airport while giving plane owners more taxiway room and storage availability.

Of the airport’s 57 hangars, which rent from $156 to $343 a month, only three are currently available.

In addition, if FDOT provides funding, parallel taxiway extension construction could begin any time when funding is available from a month to five years.

An analysis on what needs to be done on one of the primary runways is already planned for July 14.

“We’ve had an overall vision since the (Airport) CRA was started about 10 years ago for the development of the airport. We have projects lined up for the next 10 to 15 years and this is just part of it,” said Barben.

Sebring pilot Everett Winston, who was taking his motor-glider up for a flight Monday, said getting another parallel taxiway would give pilots options for takeoffs and landings.

“Having another taxiway off the other runway would be good. It would make the system easier to understand,” he said.

Currently, of the total cost of design for the project, the Federal Aviation Authority is contributing $76,000; the FDOT, $10,000; and the Airport CRA, $2,000.


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