Matanuska-Susitna Borough

20-year aviation plan coming together

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Sunday, April 29, 2007

PALMER— Share your thoughts on aviation in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough at two meetings this week. Learn what preliminary sites are on the list for new public airports and floatplane facilities.

The MAT-SU has such a fascination with flight that it has the highest concentration of public and private airports in the nation, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Over the past year, a team of consultants, pilots, airstrip owners, community leaders, airport neighbors and governments representatives has been studying the future aviation growth in the MAT-SU Borough. The team has mapped more than 200 existing airports, identified improvements needed at public airports, made preliminary recommendations on how to improve safety and manage growth of future airports, and has studied possible location ns for future public airports.

Preliminary findings will be presented at a public meeting at the Willow Community Center on March 26 at 6:30 PM and at Colony Middle School at 6:30 PM on March 29. Some of the preliminary options include an airport in the Trapper Creek area near the new South Denali Visitor Center and floatplane facilities near the Knik-Goose Bay area or near Eklutna.

This information will become part of a 20-year plan called the RASP, Regional Aviation System Plan, to be issued later this year. The Borough Assembly hired DOWL Engineers to develop the plan as part of a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Please visit the project Web site, and take part in a survey.

The survey is ongoing, but some results to date include: 78% agreed/strongly agreed that radio communication in high traffic areas should be required; 92% agreed/strongly agreed that landowners should be notified of the proximity to an airport prior to purchasing property; 87% agreed/strongly agreed protection of public airports from encroaching development is a major concern; 62% agreed/strongly
agreed protection of private airports from encroaching development is a major concern.

"There are an amazing number of airports in the MAT-SU Borough" says Borough Project Manager Brad Sworts. "We have collected some good ideas on how best to encourage aviation growth in a safe way, to protect airports and neighbors around them, and set a course for development of future public and private airports in the MAT-SU Borough. I am hoping the public brings us some more good ideas at the upcoming meetings."

For more information call Brad Sworts, Planning Transportation Manager, at (907) 746-7430 or DOWL's Project Manager Tom Middendorf at (907) 562-2000.