Friday, July 8, 2005

Sun Valley seeks role in airport decision

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley city officials this week said they want to be more involved in the debate over the proposed relocation of Friedman Memorial Airport.

The City Council during its meeting Wednesday, July 6, supported the mayor's request to the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority for representation on the board. The council also backed the mayor's request for an analysis of the costs of moving the airport versus keeping it in Hailey.

"Our air transportation is a community issue," Mayor Jon Thorson said.

On behalf of the council and the citizens of Sun Valley, the mayor authored a letter to the Airport Authority requesting the panel consider "two factors of regional significance ... before going forward with the airport-site selection or facility improvement feasibility study."

One issue is a request for representation of Sun Valley on the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority board, which is working on a plan to relocate Friedman to one of three potential sites south of the existing Hailey airport. The mayor has offered to serve as an ex-officio member of the board until it is expanded or a vacancy occurs.

The second issue is a request for an economic analysis to compare the costs of improving the existing airport site to meet C-III compliance standards with the costs of developing a new airport site.

"If the cost differential is huge, and the community at large has to pay for it ... then there may be a change in opinion, whether they want to put up with the nearby living costs or the out of pocket costs," Thorson said.

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