Last week’s fly-in of vintage airplanes, and the ribbon cutting for the new Payette River Regional Technical Academy hangar shined a spotlight on a major change at the Emmett City Airport.
“We are no longer going to be a “just kidding” airport,” Mayor Gordon Petrie said as he watched vintage planes taxi past a long line of recently completed or under-construction hangars during a fly-in on Tuesday.
Petrie was referencing the fact that for many years the Emmett City Airport was a net expense to the city and mostly a convenience for a small group of plane owners. That has changed dramatically in the last couple of years.
“We have pretty much exhausted our current available hangar space,” Emmett Public Works Director Clint Seamons said. “After nearly 50 years we are now a sustaining airport.”
Seamons reports that in addition to the new PR2TA Hangar that was dedicated on Tuesday, 17 additional hangar spaces have been added and additional tie-down space has been rented on an on-going basis.
“We have had great increase in pilots moving into the area,” Seamons said. “The demand at the other area airports has poured over to us. Nampa and Caldwell are both at capacity and now we are getting in the same place. There really has been a trend back toward private aeronautics in the last few years and we are in a position to serve some of that demand.”
There are currently more than 50 plane owners on a waiting list for future hangar or tie down space at the city owned facility. How that demand will be met is uncertain at this time.
“We are not in a position to purchase more land for an airport expansion,” Seamons said. “We really don’t want that kind of additional responsibility on our taxpayer’s backs. Any future expansion will be as a result of private/public partnerships that pay for itself without tax dollars.”