Airport advisory commission to take off

Update expected in 60 days

The Cottonwood City Council Tuesday discussed forming an advisory commission that would keep up with airport operations and communicate recommendations to the council.

"It's been a long time coming," Councilwoman Karen Pfeifer said.

According to a report from City Manager Brian Mickelsen, a commission could "provide greater focus on the airport," and would create a better opportunity for public input and involvement in airport operations.

Perhaps most importantly, however, the commission would ease the load of city staff, "who are very limited in the time available to spend on airport-related issues."

"We have an airport, and it's a valuable asset," said Al Gradijan, president of the Cottonwood Airport Users Association.

Gradijan spoke of how air traffic is growing significantly. He said there are a large number of people using airplanes for business -- and that trend is growing as well.

"There has never been as many new types of airplanes on the drawing board as there are now," he said.

Gradijan touted the economic benefits of having a suitable airport to handle the growing air traffic, and ultimately, the benefit of having some sort of governing association that could focus on airport operations and development.

He asked the council to think about "little Podunk Cottonwood airport" and the many more millions of dollars it could bring into the community.

Forming a commission was well received by the council, with Councilman Bob Rothrock noting that "we have a lot of enthusiastic people here" -- referring to Gradijan and other local aviation professionals in attendance.

Councilman Tim Elinski asked how the commission would be made up.

Council agreed that the city should form an exploratory committee to obtain information on how the advisory commission would be comprised and the various options for what type of commission it should be.

The exploratory committee is to form a report regarding commission structure and bring it before council within 60 days.

Concerns have been raised by some residents in the past regarding a growing airport and its proximity to residential areas.

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