Kalispell council OKs airport upgrade

Kalispell City Council voted 5-4 on Monday to upgrade the city airport to B-II design standards with federal Airport Improvement Program money, as recommended in a planning study by Stelling Engineers.

Council members Jim Atkinson, Randy Kenyon, Jeff Zauner, Wayne Saverud and Kari Gabriel voted in support of the project.

It was opposed by Mayor Tammi Fisher, Phil Guiffrida III, Tim Kluesner and Bob Hafferman, who continued to push to either “leave the airport as it is” or put the proposed B-II upgrade on the ballot for voters to approve or reject.

Saverud, the swing vote in every airport vote this year, said he sees the B-II project not as an airport expansion, but as a project to make the airport safer.

“If we have a general aviation airport, I want it to be the best it can be, and by the best I mean safest. To do that, I believe we must leverage [Federal Aviation Administration] funding, and for that reason I will support the motion to realign and lengthen the runway and shift helicopter activity south to reduce noise issues,” he said.

The estimated $16 million project is estimated to take the better part of a decade to complete. It now must clear an environmental assessment before advancing.

Saying that he speaks for “hundreds” of Kalispell residents who are opposed to the project, airport opponent Scott Davis vowed to put the B-II project on the ballot and defeat it in the November 2013 general election.

“You can vote tonight and  save the taxpayers some money, knowing we will prevail on this vote. Or you can vote for it. But we still will have that election and we will win it,” he said.


READ MORE in the Wednesday print edition of the Inter Lake.


 Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at tlotshaw@dailyinterlake.com.

Read More Local News

Flathead Reservation Fish and Wildlife Board to meet Wednesday

February 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Daily Inter Lake The Flathead Reservation Fish and Wildlife Board will meet at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional headquarters in Kalispell on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Board Chairman...

Read More

UM traveling exhibit ‘Motion’ coming to Lakeside

February 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Daily Inter Lake Children and families can explore the world of physics at the University of Montana’s traveling “Motion” exhibit. On Feb. 23 and 24, the Lakeside Elementary gym will be transformed into an interact...

Read More

Driving into retirement

February 18, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Daily Inter Lake Greg Eisinger has been at the wheel of Eisinger Motors in Kalispell for 23 years and spent decades in the car business before that. Eisinger, who turns 68 next month, will drive into retirement on...

Read More

Woodturners demonstrate their craft

February 18, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Daily Inter Lake Local woodturners demonstrated their craft Saturday at Kalispell Center Mall, turning wood on lathes set up to show how pieces are made, and displaying their work for passersby to admire. Glacier...

Read More