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City Council Plans For Airport Future
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In a fast-paced meeting lasting only a half hour on Monday, Sept. 19, the Oakdale City Council heard two reports on the city’s plans for South Yosemite Avenue work in front of the new community/skate park and a plan to study the airport for expansion.

Interim Public Services Director Jeff Gravel told the council that the city applied for and received $346,555 in federal funds for a project along South Yosemite Avenue between F and G streets.

According to Gravel, the project will ease the flow of traffic and also provide a safer environment, eliminating a bend at northbound G Street.

“It’ll better the alignment and traffic will continue in a straight line,” Gravel said.

With the modification, southbound Yosemite Avenue traffic between F and G streets will have two through-lanes, instead of one, and there will be a left-turn lane pocket at the G Street intersection.

The project also calls for the removal of diseased trees and a total resurfacing when complete.

As part of the federal fund award the city has to provide $7,700 in matching funds.

The second presentation by City Manager Bryan Whitemyer called for using $24,419 of airport fund money to acquire a Terminal Area Development Plan for Dan Donnelly Field.

“It’s becoming more and more important that we need a development plan for growth,” Whitemyer said. “There needs to be a comprehensive plan to provide guidance on how the airport can promote smart development in lieu of building out facilities with no regard to future development options, future facility upgrades and the required capital outlay.”

The agenda item proposed that C&S Engineering of Ceres be retained to develop a plan that would review the current facilities and leasing agreements, review the existing and forecasted aviation demand in the area, consider any constraints, evaluate alternative plans, and recommend a development plan.

Whitemyer said city staff had considered expansion to the area south of the airport, but with it being a former dump site, there were California Recycle requirements that would make it cost prohibitive.

“Due to the continued interest of businesses to develop portions of the airport property and the land constraints found at the airport, it is in the city’s best interest to develop the plan to determine a best path forward,” Whitemyer said, noting that there had been inquiries from current tenants and outside individuals about expansion. “The plan will help the city determine the highest and best uses of the airport property to provide space for aviation business and remain a self-sustaining asset while continuing to meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements.”

During discussion, Councilman Tom Dunlop pointed out the funds used for the study were collected from the leases of hangar space and was “self-funding.”

Mayor Pat Paul added that the airport was turning around from recent years and backed the proposal.

The item passed unanimously.

After the meeting Whitemyer said that some of those inquiring about expansion had also inquired about being a fixed base operator for the airport.

“This plan will help us have a solid plan over the current plan for future development,” Whitemyer said.