Nut Tree Airport Plans Take Flight

Friday, March 26, 2004

By Warren Lutz
The Fairfield (CA) Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — The Board of Supervisors will discuss the future role of the Nut Tree Airport at a special workshop Tuesday. It will also look at a list of capital improvements that fit into its vision – and how to pay for them. The meeting could become the first step toward major changes at the airport after a report last year found the Vacaville airfield was underused and poorly maintained. The county spent $700,000 on the airport during the last fiscal year.

Supervisors will consider a list of capital improvements to send to the Federal Aviation Administration outlining the airport’s needs and what they cost. They will also consider formally submitting applications for $1.2 million in FAA grants to update the airport’s master plan and making roadway, taxiway and other improvements at the Vacaville airfield.

The county routinely seeks FAA grants for airport projects. If an application is approved, the FAA provides 95 percent of the cost of improvements. The county can also apply for state money to pay for 4.5 percent of the remaining costs.

Supervisors will once more consider putting an airplane wash rack at the airport, a plan that was previously approved but got axed after changes in FAA funding after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Potential projects at the Nut Tree Airport include repairing runways, installing additional hangars and acquiring 113 acres for future development and easements.

An audit by Aviation Management Consulting Group found the airport sells fuel too cheaply, lacks a marketing plan and is being maintained below industry standards. The airport should be “developed and leveraged as an economic engine” for the county, it said.

The county is recruiting a new airport manager for the property. The former manager, John Swizer, retired in September 2003.

Reach Warren Lutz at 427-6955 or at wlutz@dailyrepublic.net.

At A Glance:
Who: Solano County Board of Supervisors

What: The board will hold a workshop to discuss the future role of Nut Tree Airport and capital projects.

Where: 580 Texas St., Fairfield

When: 9 a.m. Tuesday

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