$3 Million In Federal Money Still Wanted For Pangborn Project
The Chelan Douglas Port Authority is looking at options to finance upgrades at the Pangborn Airport General Aviation Building after failing to get $3 million in federal grant money.
The money coming through the Federal Aviation Administration required that projects already be underway, and the General Aviation building is still in the planning stages.
Port CEO Jim Kuntz says there are still options available to get the funding.
"I am optimistic," said Kuntz. "I am always a glass half full type of guy. This project's going to happen. The question is when."
The Port is looking at reapplying for the grant money (through the Airport Terminal Program) this fall as well as asking for the money through the FAA's Airport Improvement Program.
If the money came through under either path, the project would be delayed after the General Aviation building was not included in the FAA’s latest funding announcement just announced Monday.
Reapplying for the same grant would delay the process until at least February or March of next year, while there would be no announcement on funding through the Airport Improvement Program until September
Money from the Airport Improvement Program would be channeled through U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s office.
Kuntz thinks they should continue trying to get federal funding, although the project could quickly move forward if the Port picked up the entire $5 million cost.
"This project is going to be delayed, but I just think it's important to try to use federal funds to help," Kuntz said. "We don't want to use all of our 5.5 (million dollars)."
The Pangborn General Aviation building will include a new Executive Flight terminal that is seen as a gateway to give visitors a lasting first impression of the region.
The remodel of the building was made necessary by plans for the Washington Army National Guard to take over the entire building that currently houses Executive Fights as early as next year.
The 1960s-era building on the east side of the airport will gain 300 square feet in its change to house the terminal.
The new layout of the building will increase from around 6,400 square feet to 6,700 square feet in the project. It includes 2,300 square feet of terminal space for events.
The plan for the terminal uses what its project summary refers to a Great Hall concept, which "allows for a contiguous public space that celebrates the existing structure and the ability for views along the length of the building."
The summary says the first impression for Pangborn has an incredible opportunity due to its current location, and nostalgic character of the barrel vault structure of the General Aviation building.
Complicating the process of getting federal money for the project is a requirement to comply with federal standards for historical buildings.
The FAA considers General Aviation a protected historic site and is requiring the Port to honor those standards in the renovation of the building.