Ideas for Aspen airport ready for review, input |

Ideas for Aspen airport ready for review, input

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
www.aspenairportplanning.comPreliminary alternatives for facilities at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport get review this spring. The conceptual proposals will be the focus of a public open house on Monday.

ASPEN – Conceptual proposals for the future of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, including its terminal, parking and public transit connection, will be unveiled Monday at an open house.

The airport and its consultants are working toward a draft master plan for airport facilities, but the ideas that have emerged thus far are hardly set in stone, according to Jim Elwood, aviation director.

Rather, suggestions that came out of a series of public brainstorming sessions, or charrettes, held earlier this spring, have now taken shape in draft designs that depict building configurations and traffic circulation on the airport property. Refining those two-dimensional sketches through additional input is the next step, Elwood said.

“We’re just trying to take ideas and pack the snowball a little bit,” he said. “We’re kind of letting the planning process percolate up from the grass-roots level.”

County commissioners were briefed in March on the outcome of the charrettes. Participants in those sessions were, for example, open to replacing the terminal building and the construction of a parking garage at the airport, commissioners were told.

An easy connection between the terminal and public transit was also deemed important, Elwood noted, so the conceptual designs show that access.

“We’re not trying to push a transit method. We’re trying to make sure anything we do at the airport will accommodate transit needs,” Elwood said.

Public feedback is welcome at Monday’s open house, to be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Airport Operations Center off Owl Creek Road. The draft designs, and their pros and cons, will be displayed.

A master plan advisory committee will also meet Monday to review the draft concepts, and Elwood will give county commissioners an update on the airport master plan Tuesday.

Developing a master plan that addresses the airport’s facilities needs for the next 20 years is expected to continue through this year, with the process wrapping up early in 2012.

This is the second, comprehensive 20-year master planning effort at the airport. The first one, completed in 2004, resulted in a recommendation to county commissioners for a runway extension and the addition of an Airport Operations Center on the west side of the runway, among other improvements. The operations center was built in 2006 and the lengthening of the runway is now under way.

The airport planning firm of Mead and Hunt is leading the latest effort, paid for with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The public can follow the master planning process at

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