Mustang Beach Airport on the grow
Port Aransas' Mustang Island Airport may be on the verge of stepping into a new life.
City Manager Michael Kovacs said the city's airport board is reviewing draft requests for information from potential commercial developers who might come to the city and build additional facilities at the airport.
These could include such amenities as more parking spaces for transient aircraft and more hangar space at the airport.
"There's a huge demand from people wanting hangars," Kovacs said.
The idea of inviting a company into town to develop the airport isn't new; the airport board started looking at the idea at least three years ago. The project hit a stumbling block, however, when it was pointed out that land north of the current airport is owned by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and leased to the city, and that the GLO isn't normally fond of the idea of sub-leasing state lands to private enterprise.
The GLO land abuts city land, which would have been open to private development if the city council approves it.
Since then, GLO officials have agreed to lease part of the property to private developers, however. That opens the door for the city to invite companies to propose what they could do with the land.
"(The GLO) definitely understands the need to keep the land parcels related," Kovacs said.
The next step, Kovacs said, will be to get comments on the draft request for information from airport board members. The board hasn't met recently - not since then-chairman Sam Poteet resigned for health reasons. A new chairman hasn't been elected, although the city council on Jan. 17 appointed alternate board member Bob Pettit to Poteet's place on the board.
That move now leaves a vacancy in the alternate airport board member's position. Kovacs said the city will advertise soon for someone to volunteer to fill that vacancy.
He said there's no definite timeline for choosing a developer to work in a private-public partnership with the city on developing Mustang Beach Airport. But he said the matter could come up for a decision as soon as May.
Even with a decision on a developer, no actual building on the land could be expected immediately.
"It's a small airport, but we can do a lot with it," Kovacs said.