Pitkin County scores $5.8M in FAA grants to reimburse airport paving costs | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County scores $5.8M in FAA grants to reimburse airport paving costs

In other action, board wants to explore gun control

Pitkin County has accepted two grants for more than $5.8 million in reimbursements for paving at the airport.

One grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for $4.16 million covered 90% of the cost of this spring’s repaving several areas on the runway, taxiway connectors and an apron area north of the passenger terminal.

The county wanted to complete the work prior to the busy summer tourist season. The grant hadn’t been processed when the work started May 2. The airport was closed for two weeks during that work.

“The grant and the work don’t always work out from a timing standpoint,” airport director Dan Bartholomew told the county commissioners Wednesday.

Once the new pavement is cured, crews will create grooves in the runway to create friction, Bartholomew said. That work will be undertaken at night, when the airport is closed, so there won’t be additional disruptions.

Bartholomew said he hopes the work was “robust” enough that no similar repaving will be required in spring 2023. The airport performs an annual inspection of the pavement condition.

The commissioners voted to accept a second grant from the FAA for $1.66 million to reimburse the county for airport paving that occurred in August 2021.

In other county commissioner action:

— The board voted 4-0 to approve a second and final reading of an ordinance to buy land and a conservation easement on the Tom and Carolyn Moore family ranch on McLain Flats Road, about 3 miles outside of Aspen.

The contract is for $10 million. The deal includes the outright purchase of 95 acres on the west side of McLain Flats Road. Development will be prohibited. The county also purchased a conservation easement on 135 acres on the main part of the ranch. The Moores will continue to live in their house on the property. The house and iconic red barn will get historic designation. The Moores will get one development right for a home on the main parcel.

One million dollars in the deal is contingent on acquisition of a conservation easement on an additional 42 acres that the Moores own with family. If all family members agree to place a conservation easement on the 42 acres, the county will pay the $1 and grant a second development right. If not, it will be a $9 million deal.

— The board directed County Attorney John Ely to explore the county’s ability to enact gun control measures. Commissioner Francie Jacober raised the issue. She wants the commissioners to adopt a position “that just makes a statement for us on where we stand on gun control laws.”

For her, the statement would be a ban on the sale of assault weapons. Ely said he would research and report back at a later date with findings on Pitkin County’s ability to pursue independent action.