Times-Call (Longmont)

City Council may close gap on terminal funding

- By Ken Amundson

It appears that Fort Collins may come to the table and help close the funding gap to build a new terminal at Northern Colorado Regional Airport.

Airport manager Jason Licon told the airport commission Thursday that airport staff will appeal to the Fort Collins City Council next Tuesday and attempt to secure $1 million in funding to match a similar amount from Loveland. In exchange for the money, the airport would agree to a series of performanc­e measures that Fort Collins had required before extending additional funding.

Licon expressed optimism that by March 7 — when the Fort Collins council would vote on second reading of an ordinance — the airport will have closed its funding gap for the terminal. Fort Collins City Manager Kelly Dimartino, however, urged caution.

“Don’t get ahead of the March 7 council approval,” she advised. In other words, don’t start issuing constructi­on documents until the funding process has reached conclusion.

Plans for a new terminal at the airport began several years ago. It was included in the airport’s master plan. The existing terminal was built in 1989 and was determined to be insufficie­nt for existing and future traffic at the facility. Airport security, for example, requires a larger footprint than space allows.

Funding from the Coronaviru­s Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided the lion’s share of the funding for the project, which now is targeted at about $25 million. Federal funding would pay $21 million. The airport has reserves of $2 million. The remaining $2 million would be split between the airport’s owners, the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins.

The Loveland City Council approved paying its share. Fort Collins balked, but said it might consider participat­ing if the airport agreed to performanc­e measures.

As of Thursday, the terminal design is 60% complete — the second time it has reached that level. A larger version of the terminal needed to be scaled back when constructi­on costs escalated during the pandemic.

Architects with Vaught Frye Larson Aronson told the commission Thursday that “we are at critical mass for the building.” It can’t be reduced further in size because of the space required by the Transporta­tion Security Administra­tion, baggage handling and other features unique to airport terminals.

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