Next steps in the construction of a new hangar were a primary focus of Wednesday’s Greeneville Municipal Airport Authority meeting.
The authority voted to seek a 30-year bond to finance the construction of the new hangar, to be located near the Med-Trans and the large hangar occupied by flyExclusive International and Vertical Flight Technologies (VFT).
Authority Chairman Jeff Hollett said that the 30-year span would provide for lease payments to make the hangar economically viable for VFT or any other tenant. It is intended that the lease amount cover the payments that the authority will have to make to pay back the bond.
Greeneville City Administrator Todd Smith also explained that the airport’s bond can be issued along with one by the town later this year, which would lessen the administrative costs involved for the Airport Authority.
The authority also reviewed an update about the design and preliminary cost estimates for the hangar construction from PDC Consultants, the airport’s engineering firm. Using costs from past similar hangar projects, the engineering firm projects that the construction will cost an estimated $1.2 million and with engineering and other expenses added, the total project will be an estimated $1.4 million.
It was noted that the estimate includes costs for possible moving of a water line and of stormwater drainage for the MedTrans hangar but does not include estimates for any possible removal of rock in site preparation.
The project has reached the point that 30% of the design is completed. The Airport Authority has received a $1 million grant for the hangar’s construction from the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Economic Development Fund since VFT is bringing new jobs to the community.
One of the requirements of the grant is that the Airport Authority give its approval for the project to move forward now that it has reached the 30% design milestone. After extended discussion of the estimates and requirements by the state, the authority members decided to schedule a called meeting to consider that approval, which will follow a session next week with the engineering firm and TDOT about the project.
In other business, the authority approved a $250 fee per event for non-aviation use of the facility by the Smoky Mountain Region Porsche Club. Airport Manager Steven Neesen said the Porsche Club would like to use the facility four or five times in the coming year for activities. The activities would only be for club members and invited guests.
As part of its “Spring Thing” event, the Porsche Club has used part of the apron for an autocross course in past years. After a question was raised, Neesen said that the activities would be located to not interfere with business functions at the nearby hangars.
The authority also voted to seek the annexation of airport properties currently outside the Greeneville corporate limits into the town and to rezone parcels that are not M-1 restricted manufacturing and warehousing to that zoning district designation.
Town Planning Director Randy Davenport explained that the action would bring all the airport’s properties within the corporate limits and under Greeneville regulations. It would also address the currently different zoning designations for the airport property.
Building Official Bert Seay said this would be a housekeeping type of action and would ensure the property is within the correct zoning designation for an airport and related aviation businesses or activities.
The authority also agreed to schedule a called meeting for the latter part of the month or early April to discuss a request from JumpTN to move to a larger hangar to accommodate its planned expansion. Proposed as a possible location is the Austin Malone hangar.
That hangar has been leased for several years by Scott Niswonger, who told the authority that he intends to continue renting the hangar and is not interested in giving up his lease. He noted that he has spent $60,000 in the past year on improvements to the hangar.
Niswonger said he is supportive of JumpTN and would consider helping in the construction of a new hangar to meet their needs.
Hollett said that legal counsel has indicated it would not be advisable to remove a tenant in good standing from a lease.
The authority agreed that options for providing a larger space for Jump TN would be explored at the called meeting.