City Airport Should be Put to Highest and Best Use

By Beacon Staff

Here we go again! As someone wrote last week, “When will it end?” I’ve been here now two times now stemmed myself against the realization that as Norb Donahue and also Clarence Krepps, former city manager, who even then were aware of the fact that the location of the present city airport carries too many liabilities.

Kalispell has a cancer. The only way, as in medicine, is to remove it. No more band-aids and spending residents’ of this area and taxpayers’ money. I’ve concluded that this property should be put to highest and best use to be a revenue producing entity. No matter how it is dissected, when put under close scrutiny, the fact remains that this is not a location for a Class B-II airport.

The old saying is “Liars figure, but figures don’t lie.” I’ve learned all too often that I’m addressing some who are in a frame of mind where their minds are made up and are not to be disturbed by facts. I propose that this issue should be on a ballot, which was also agreed to by Bob Hafferman at one time, so that the people who are mostly affected by all the liabilities of this airport location are given the chance to be heard. This is the silent majority. I hear and see statements such as “I live in Bigfork and the airport doesn’t both me” or “The airport was here first, I guess the city should have stopped growing 83 years ago.” These statements are illogical. Although I’ve made suggestions on how to fund a community center as early as 1993, the attempt was never made or even considered, to my knowledge.

Now is the time to speak up and collectively ban together and put this property to its most revenue producing use for all the population, from the Idaho border to Havre to Lethbridge and Polson. This population base would use an auditorium, convention hall, YMCA or YWCA, or a bowling hall, and make Kalispell a focal point.

It is a proven fact that collective intelligence is best. History will always show that a city that does not include culture in its make up is soon lost. While I support aviation, I therefore encourage the No. 2 alternative location, which is to build another airport mostly funded by the FAA or move it to Glacier National Park International Airport, who welcomes general aviation. Again I see limited consideration when it is said it would cost $4.2 million for a new airport. Deduct the transfer of leases rather than the outright purchase, also dismantle and relocate the present hangars, both greatly reducing the monies now as stated in the engineering report.

Don’t let the wrong action of the few at this time again determine it to be a mistake for the future.

Carl Feig

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