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Fairmont planning new hangar

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont City Council took the initial step Monday to expand hangar space at the Fairmont Municipal Airport.

Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director, told the council there has been a significant investment in construction projects at the airport over the past several years, which prompted the Airport Advisory Board to look at expanding the users at the airport. Adding an additional hangar would aid in increasing the number of users.

“This is a pre-application for funding to start the design phase. For this project, the city’s cost share would be about 5 percent of $1 million,” Nemmers said. “This is the first step of a pretty significant investment at the airport.”

The city’s $55,000 share would be spread out over three years, with the Federal Aviation Administration paying the bulk of the cost.

Airport manager Lee Steinkamp said the existing hangars are full. There are five hangars that house 29 planes based at the airport, and a portion of one of the buildings is kept open for transient aircraft whose pilots require their aircraft to be housed overnight.

“We do have a waiting list, and it will fill,” Steinkamp said of the proposed hangar.

Long-time advisory board member Dennis Turner also spoke in support of a new hangar.

“We’ve done all the required items as far as runways, taxiways and lighting,” he said. “This is the next logical step.”

The council voted unanimously to authorize city staff to submit the pre-application for the design of the new hangar, which could be ready for tenants in late 2020.

Turning to another matter, City Administrator Mike Humpal said the city has been successful in acquiring eight vacant dilapidated properties, a project that required three years to complete. The properties will undergo an asbestos exam, and those that are salvageable will be sold to people wanting to rehabilitate the houses. Those that are too dilapidated to fix up will be demolished.

Mayor Debbie Foster praised city staff for its ongoing efforts in acquiring the properties.

“This is not something you just can do. It’s a long process,” she said.

In other business, the council:

o Welcomed two new part-time Fairmont Police Department patrol officers, Dayton Asmus and Andrew Kuester, both graduates of Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria. Asmus is a Fairmont native while Kuester is from New Ulm.

o Approved a charitable gambling premises permit for the Fairmont Youth Hockey Association at Jessie’s Smokehouse at 1500 Albion Ave.

o Approved three-year labor agreements with employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and 27 employees not represented by a union. The agreements call for a wage increase of 3 percent in 2018, 3.25 percent in 2019 and 3.5 percent in 2020. Humpal noted that negotiations took less than half a day for all the parties to reach an agreement.

o Approved the sell-back of 40 hours of vacation by the city administrator.

o Heard a report from Dave Geschwind, CEO and executive director of SMMPA, on the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s 40-year relationship as a wholesale energy provider for Fairmont and 17 other Minnesota cities.

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