June 19, 2008

Airport Hangar Plans on Hold

By Marcus, Samantha

Construction slated to start this summer on a new La Crosse Municipal Airport hangar has been postponed indefinitely, airport officials said. The sluggish economy has cut demand and swelled costs of construction and materials.

Airport officials had anticipated a $275,000 price tag for the new 10-stall hangar, but the price of steel has raised that estimate from $460,000 to more than $600,000, said Airport Manager Dan Wruck.

The airport would have to charge $450 to $700 a month for hangar space just to make the project financially viable, he said.

"I don't think we would be very successful renting that out at all," he said. "We could build the building, but it's question-able at this time whether we can fill it."

The airport already has vacancies that officials are struggling more than usual to fill. Pilots on waiting lists who typically jump at the chance to park at the French Island facility are turning them down, said Wruck.

Wruck said they'll proceed with hangar site and preparation work as planned but hold off on constructing the hangar itself. The economy will determine when the building will go up, he said.

The new facility was part of the airport's 20-year master plan the La Crosse Common Council adopted in 2003.

Gov. Jim Doyle in March approved an $80,000 plan to design a new hangar and other improvements at the airport.

Copyright La Crosse Tribune May 27, 2008

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