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County shuffles funding

Airport continues to deal with security, parking mandates

Gary E. Salazar

— Federal requirements at Yampa Valley Regional Airport have solved one parking issue but created other parking problems.

If Federal Aviation Administration mandates stay in effect at the airport this winter, a Hayden officer will not be needed to prevent people from parking in front of the terminal, which is no longer allowed.

The mandate banning parked vehicles within 300 feet of the terminal is part of new security measures the FAA handed down since the Sept. 11 terrorist tragedies.

The 300-foot requirement has wiped out the airport’s main parking lot in front of the terminal that could hold 200 vehicles.

Routt County is expected to back out of an agreement it has had with Hayden that paid a Hayden code enforcement officer to monitor traffic.

That money will now be used to staff the airport with Routt County Sheriff’s deputies.

Because of the federal mandates, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for providing deputies at the airport.

Right now, one deputy is on duty, but additional deputies will be needed once air travel increases during ski season.

To provide additional deputies at the airport, Sheriff John Warner is planning to hire police officers from Hayden, Oak Creek and Craig who are interested in working at the airport when they are off duty.

To work at the airport, these officers will have to go through training, Warner said.

The deputies at the airport will work with four soldiers from the Army National Guard. On Tuesday, the guardsmen reported for duty at the airport after Gov. Bill Owens issued an executive order calling the troops to active duty.

Owens has called on the National Guard to monitor security checkpoints at 14 Colorado airports.

The guardsmen at the airport also will patrol the terminal and parking lots, Parker said.

Meanwhile, airport officials are scrambling to provide parking by expanding the remote parking lots located north of the terminal.

Parker said he is hopeful he can convince the FAA to allow passengers to be dropped off within 100 feet of the airport to help alleviate the inconvenience.

“That will be a nightmare if people have to park at that outlying lot and walk to the terminal,” Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

Parker said he is preparing himself for disgruntled travelers.

“We are going to have so many complaints from travelers because they have to walk so far to get to the terminal,” Parker said. “I can see it coming.”


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