Council discussed possible long term
benefits of Cox Field Airport on Monday,
prompted by an advisory committee
request for 10 additional airplane
A 10-year airport plan currently is in
the works as is drainage work and runway
resurfacing, financed by a $4 million
grant from Texas Department of
Transportation with a $400,000 match
from the City of Paris.
Questions remain whether hangar
construction can take place during
planned runway renovations.
Airport manager Jerry Richey told
council members there are 29 people on a
hangar waiting list with some airplane
owners having been on the list several
The city currently owns 35 hangars
leased for $162 a month.
"There is a real shortage of hangars
everywhere and some of the people on the
list are from out of town," Richey said.
"People might move to this area if they
had a place to put their airplanes."
Richey said several local owners keep
aircraft tied down, not an ideal
"There are weather problems and no one
wants to keep their plane on the ramp
very long," he said.
Although 10 hangars would not cover the
waiting list, Richey said it would be a
"Our airport is important and that is
why we justified keeping those
properties near it in the city limits,"
Councilman Edwin Pickle said about the
council's March 9 action to deny
disannexation requests of several
property owners located along Airport
Road between Cox Field and U.S. 271.
Pickle also referred to a recent Paris
Economic Development Corporation report
by PEDC executive director Pete Kampfer
that calls for efforts to create more
"I would like to see it brought back and
studied," Councilman Steve Brown said.
"We have spent $400,000 to tear down
something; let's spend $400,000 to build
Pickle earlier referred to the
demolition of the Casa Bonita Apartment
complex, saying the demolition was
necessary but did not have the economic
benefit airport improvements would
Brown urged his colleagues to visit
Pryor, Okla. to see the impact the
airport there has had on that community.
"With the baby boomer generation
retiring, there is a big market for
airplanes," Brown said. The District 4
Councilman noted residential areas and
business districts have developed around
the Pryor airport.
Airport board members Glenn Chapman and
Billy Copeland contributed to the
"There have been two airports with no
progress in the past 10 years -
Clarksville and Paris," Chapman said. He
also suggested council members check a
TxDOT report about economical impacts
nearby airports have on communities in
comparison with the Cox Field impact on
"TxDOT reports a $4.5 million-a-year
impact in Paris," Chapman said. The
Sulphur Springs airport contributes $32
million and in Gainesville the impact is
more than $100 million.
"We could have 150 people employed out
there if we had someone pushing it,"
Chapman said of airport expansion.
Councilman Kevin Kear said he needed
documented sources of information about
economic impact before he could make an
informed decision about hangar
"It is hard for me to understand how 10
hangars would make an impact," Kear
said. "I want to see what the payback
would be. If we can do 10, can we do
"I want to support you, but the
perception is the airplane is the rich
man's toy," Kear said "I need to
understand the economic impact."
Pickle answered that the economic
reports are out there.
"You will see what has happened to those
airports that have had activity there
and are trying to grow - that are trying
to become progressive versus some of
those that have been neglected," Pickle
Following more than a 30-minute
discussion, Mayor Jesse Freelen asked
staff to seek written approval for
hangar construction from both the
Federal Aviation Administration and
"We need to clear with FAA and TxDOT
first and then bring it back to the
council," Freelen said. "Once we get
documentation, then we will look at it."
Reprinted courtesy The Paris News