This article has been updated to include updated financial information on the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
OGDEN — Ogden City’s administration has been given the go-ahead to start the first portion of what will eventually be $10 million worth of new construction at the city’s municipal airport.
Following a public hearing Tuesday night, the Ogden City Council approved separate measures that amended the city’s 2021 budget and Capital Improvement Plan that will allow a large-scale project on the west side of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
According to council documents, the project is broken into four phases and involves utility and road upgrades, access improvements and direct flight support at the airport.
A new taxiway will be built as part of the first stage of construction, which will allow aircraft using either of the airport’s runways to exit and gain access to new development on the facility’s west side. An extension of 4000 South onto airport property comprises phase two, and phase three involves grading, drainage and cleanup work.
The final phase of work includes the placement of existing utilities to allow easy access for expected development on the west side. Water, sewer, power, natural gas and telecommunication utilities will all be moved as part of the work.
Justin Sorensen, an analyst in the city’s accounting department, said the city received a $6 million grant from the Utah Department of Transportation, which will be used to cover the first portion of the project. Sorensen said the city expects a similar state grant, covering the remaining costs of the project, to come through next year.
Ogden Council member Rich Hyer said he recently visited the airport and views the project as essential to the facility’s future success.
“It does need a little work over there,” he said. “That’s good space, but it needs a lot of help.”
The city is banking on new development, particularly that involving aerospace companies relocating to the site, to drive the airport’s financial future. City officials have said the airport regularly operates at a loss, by as much as $750,000 during the 2010s. Those officials says losses have lessened in recent years, but the number fluctuates. Ogden Comptroller Lisa Stout said the airport lost about $560,000 in Fiscal Year 2020.
A 20-year master plan also calls for the continued development of commercial passenger air service at Ogden-Hinckley, something the city has been working on for nearly a decade.
Some members of the general aviation crowd at the airport have questioned how much the city really loses at the facility and have said efforts to bring consistent commercial service to Ogden is essentially a pipe dream. In an effort largely spearheaded by Ed McKenney, a pilot and former member of the city’s airport advisory board, the group has resurrected the formerly dormant Ogden Regional Airport Association in an effort to address some of the group’s concerns, which, among other things, includes increasing fees at the airport and unfavorable lease terms.