City, Corridor to speak with regional airline about commercial flights in Spencer; other city council notes

City, Corridor to speak with regional airline about commercial flights in Spencer; other city council notes
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Area officials are looking into whether it’s worthwhile for Spencer to pursue scheduled commercial flights at the Northwest Iowa Regional Airport.

Spencer City Manager Amanda Mack, Mayor Kevin Robinson and staff from the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation will soon take a fact-finding trip to St. Louis, where they’ll speak to staff with regional airline Air Choice One about the Spencer airport’s options.

After Monday night’s Spencer City Council meeting, Mack said they plan to discuss with Air Choice One what types of service could be offered in Spencer. That could include direct flights from Spencer to Air Choice One’s hubs or a flight from Spencer to one of the connecting airports.

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Mack emphasized the discussions are preliminary.

“We’re just trying to figure out what works for them and then how do we pair it with what works for us and find some middle ground on that,” Mack said.

In Iowa, Air Choice One has services in Fort Dodge, Mason City and Burlington. Fort Dodge’s and Mason City’s proximity to Spencer doesn’t appear to be an issue, Mack said.

“For us, it’s really figuring out what is the best use of our resources and what might be the most viable, not just for the Spencer community, but also for the region as a whole,” she said.

The Corridor, the economic development region for Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet counties, has been considering the possibility of commercial air travel in Spencer, as has the city council.

“It’s something that the council set as a goal back in December to explore what options might be available,” Mack said. “In working with the staff at the Corridor, that is something that comes up in their visits with regional businesses.”

Mack added that people looking to relocate to Spencer often ask how close is the nearest airport, not just for business, but also for leisure.

Spencer hasn’t had a commercial airline offer scheduled flights at its airport since Great Lakes Airlines left and moved its headquarters to Cheyenne, Wyo., in 2001. That airline has since shut down operations.

4th Avenue West and 18th Street intersection to close for CDBG project work

Spencer drivers will have to work around an inconvenient intersection shutdown as crews will soon begin working at Fourth Avenue West and 18th Street.

Ross McWhirter, engineer with Kruse, Cate and Nelson, said that the crews working in the area will try to have the intersection open as soon as possible.

“It shouldn’t take a long time, but it is going to be an inconvenience,” he told the Spencer City Council at its meeting Monday.

Though there won’t be an official detour posted, McWhirter said there will be warning signs posted on 11th Avenue West and Grand Avenue so drivers know the intersection is closed.

Other council actions

The city council also took the following actions Monday:

  • Approved extending completion dates of the following projects
    • 2018 HMA Overlay Project extended to June 7, 2019
    • 2018 PCC Patching Project to November 16, 2019
    • 2018 West Fourth Street Sewer Replacement to November 16, 2019
    • 2018 Intake Replacement Project to May 15, 2019
  • Authorized and approve the issuance of $1.9 million in general obligation urban renewal bonds to pay for the Iowa Great Lakes Trail Phase 2. The council awarded the bonds at the Oct. 1 meeting. The city will use TIF revenues to repay the debt.
  • Accepted a proposal from Richard Fursman of Hue Life to conduct the city manager’s one-year employee evaluation for $2,550 plus about $750 in estimated travel expenses.