Monday, March 14, 2005
Concord airport to review master plan
Revision necessary to keep federal funding; public invited to meeting
By Rebecca F. Johnson
The Hayward (CA) Daily Review
CONCORD – The process to decide Buchanan Field Airport’s fate for the next 20 years will begin Tuesday night with a master planning meeting. As part of a Federal Aviation Administration requirement, the Concord airport’s master plan must be revised for it to remain eligible for federal funding. The plan for the 495-acre airport was last updated in 1990.
The public is invited to comment during the community meeting hosted by the county’s aviation advisory committee to ensure the consultants hired to develop the master plan consider all viewpoints before they begin.
“We didn’t want any perception of bias or definitives in the consultants’ minds before they met with community members,” said Beth Lee, the airport’s business and development manager.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is waiting for Shapell Industries to deliver a final proposal to redevelop the airport into a mixed-used area. The proposal would require moving the airport to an alternate location.
However, the master planning process will move forward independently of the other consideration, Lee said. According to the stated project goals, the master plan will address several objectives, including:
Dianne Cole, executive director of the Friends of Concord Airport Association and a member of the master plan steering committee, said she thinks several improvements can be made.
She would like the plan to include a new terminal to replace the double-wide trailer currently used and a convention center to draw people and revenue to the county.
Concord Chamber of Commerce President Nicholas Virgallito said his organization also is looking to ensure the airport contributes to the surrounding area.
“The chamber’s direction is basically to help create a strong local economy and we feel the airport is part of that,” he said. “We’d like to see it expand in terms of what it can do for the aviation community.”
Lee anticipates the plan will take 24 to 30 months to complete. Nine public meetings will be held over the course of the planning process.
The community meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Walnut Room of the Concord Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive, Concord.