City Commissioners hear update on airport layout, Comprehensive Plan

The Emporia City Commission held a lengthy discussion over the airport layout and development plan at their study session Wednesday morning.

Mike Waller with Lochner Associates and Public Works Director Frank Abart  presented concerns with the current layout and plans and made recommendations based on the FAA's requirements. Among the recommendations, expansion of the north-south runway to 5,500 feet. Mayor Jon Geitz says this is a recommendation that needed to be addressed.

The FAA requires a 5,500 foot runway to accommodate up to 75 percent of aircraft. The other recommendation was to shorten the other runway to 2,600 by 120 feet. The Emporia airport currently sees about 400 jets annually. With expansion also comes the need for land acquisition of at least one residential property and the need to reconfigure a couple of holes at the Emporia Golf Course. The master plan will be presented to the city commission at their Oct. 18 meeting.
In other business, commissioners were briefed by former Assistant City Manager Jim Witt on implementation timelines for the Comprehensive Plan. Mayor Geitz says they made notes on some of the target dates to be pushed back due to budget constraints.
Urban Collaborative has recommended reconfiguring parts of 12th Ave. and 6th Ave. to include bike lanes and expansion of roadways. Those plans were listed as 1-5 year priorities, but city staff said those would be more likely as 5-10 year projects due to the costs associated.

The commission also discussed the city's future involvement in the Flint Hills Regional Council. Currently the city pays $12,450 annually out of the industrial use sales tax fund. Concerns were raised over whether it's financially feasible to continue as a member. Lyon County is also a member of the council. Commissioner Rob Gilligan will seek recommendation from the Retail Development Association on how effective the council membership has been for the city, which he will bring back to the commission at a later date.

The city commission will hold its next action session at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18.