Alot of progress has been made at the two Pinal County Airports, according to Jim Petty, Airport Economic Development Director. He was speaking before the Pinal County Board of Supervisors at a Work study meeting on April 10, 2019.
Despite the progress, Petty said that a lot still needs to be done.
San Manuel Airport
Starting with the San Manuel Airport, which Petty titled, “The Best Small Airport in the State,” Petty detailed some of the upgrades that have been completed:
- Installed an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS)
- Built a Taxiway
- Producing rental income from T-Hangar buildings
- Self-Service Fuel System
- Runway Lighting System
- Terminal Building
- Reconstructed the Parking Ramp
Capital Improvements are planned in the short term, with assistance from the State and Federal governments:
- Obstruction Mitigation – Total Cost $350,000
- State Share: $315,000
- Local Share: $35,000
- Taxiway Lighting (replacing the reflectors): $762,000
- Federal Share: $693,420
- State Share: $34,290
- Local Share: $34,290
The San Manuel Airport is on 140 acres, with a 4200’ runway, that is 75’ wide.
Petty spent most of his time discussing the Pinal Airpark, which he considers to be a rough diamond in the process of being polished. “Pinal Airpark, it’s rich. Every day, I discover something new,” Petty said, explaining that they were required to do a biological, cultural and historical appraisal of the airport in order to qualify for FAA grants.
According to Petty, the lady doing the historical appraisal generated a thirty-page report that was quite fascinating. Several of the Supervisors expressed an interest in reading the report.
However, the Pinal Airport has aging infrastructure that needs extensive repairs.
To fix the water infrastructure, the estimate is $5.03 million; electrical system upgrades would be $2.3 million; and the roadways currently described as deteriorated asphalt, needing about $2.45 million in work. He showed a photo of his finger that he was able to poke through a water pipe, demonstrating the definite need.
As far as broadband and Internet, however, tenants at the airport are paying for CenturyLink to run a line to their buildings, opening the opportunities for other entities to also take advantage of the services.
Petty also shows a video, in which one of the planes taking off generates a dust storm, because the shoulders on the taxiway are not wide enough. So, when the large 747 planes take off, their outboard engines are over the dirt, generating the dust storm and taking out some of the runway lights. He has hopes that they can get a grant to pay for most of the design to correct the issue. “We’re addressing that. Construction would hopefully be in about two years from now,” Petty said.
Petty said that the airport recently became classified, which will qualify it for federal funding.
Petty said they have completed a draft of a rates and survey analysis, and hope to bring it before the Supervisors in June for their comments and possible adoption.
Additionally, they do have some apartments and homes on the grounds that are rented out. Some have been renovated already, but the others are being worked on as funds are available.
“I think you’re doing a good job with the airports, keep it up,” said Supervisor Pete Rios.
Tours are available at the Pinal Airpark, but must be scheduled in advance. Please contact the Pinal County Citizen Contact Center at 520.866.6411 for information and tour questions.