Ames Municipal Airport Working on Expanding to Fit Economic, University Needs

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AMES, Iowa -- The Ames Municipal Airport will hold a public information workshop Tuesday evening to discuss the current capabilities of the airport and the potential for further expansion.

The last master plan for the airport was made in 2008. The big goal was a new terminal building, and now that it's complete, they hope to keep expanding this time in the air.

They hope to one day be able to serve larger, and heavier planes. It starts with a major extension of the runway and building more hangers for aircraft storage. The City of Ames Airport Manager, Damion Pregitzer, says when it comes to the airport’s growth plan there is no exact time table, but they hope to get some of these expansions done sooner rather than later. With the airport being a huge economic driver, they feel airport upgrades could help not only local businesses grow, but drive new ones to come to town.

“It's kind of hard for people to realize when you look at the airport master plan that somebody could come into your airport, a business owner or investor, like the facilities at the airport, like the community and what it has to offer, and then they decide, because of their experience and your airport, to put their business in your community. Then, all of a sudden, you have 200, 300, 400 more jobs,” Pregitzer said.

The city says the extension of the runway can also help the Iowa State University athletics, though they aren't quite big enough to help charter the largest rosters, at least not yet.

“Well, maybe one day,” Pregitzer said. “We obviously can capture any sport, basically, except for football. Football has passenger sizes where we would have to get into the commercial airport requirements. Maybe with the extended runway, we could start to get those larger charters that you see in football.”

The Ames Municipal Airport is self-sustaining. Pregitzer says they treat it almost like a stand-alone business for the community. If they did need money for the expansion, most would come from federal and state grants.

The public workshop is from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the airport’s terminal. Pregitzer says everyone is welcome.

“You get a big range of people who are just curious about what you are doing at the airport,” Pregitzer said. “You get a part of the community who doesn’t even know we have an airport, per se, all the way up to business or corporate people interested in how it can serve their business or corporate needs.”

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