Chino Airport Plan Funded

CHINO – The next step has been taken to expand Chino Airport as an economic engine for the region.

The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County this month has approved nearly half a million dollars to contract with Coffman Associates Inc., the same master-planning company it used in 2002 for the original Chino Airport Master Plan.

With the current plan outdated because of changing economic, sociological and demographic conditions in the region, officials said an updated airport development plan would provide the county, the Department of Airports, and the Federal Aviation Administration with a blueprint for future airport growth and funding.

Regional leaders aim for airport growth to create hundreds of new jobs and increased revenue for the region within the next 30 years.

Envisioned are increased use of airport runways for corporate and commercial use, more aircraft hangars and the development of business in and around the airport.

“Hopefully this will bring in more business opportunities for the airport and the community,” said Chino Mayor Dennis Yates. “When you get a large center of commerce, it will help generate activity within the airport.”

Still, officials said progress on major airport development has been set back several years because of the global financial downturn.

“(Airport growth) has been pushed out a minimum of five more years because of the recession, and I don’t see a turnaround anytime soon,” said Yates, although he added development should take off within the next decade.

The updated plan will include an assessment of impacts to the environment and wildlife, advice on land acquisition, land use, hangar development, pavement maintenance, rules and regulations and airspace analysis.

Burt Southard, special projects coordinator for Supervisor Gary Ovitt, said despite the economic problems with the larger economy, airport tenants have increased as smaller regional airports have seen business cutbacks.

“In times of an economic desert, the Chino airport seems to be an oasis with lots of potential,” Ovitt said.

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