Hayden’s planned industrial park could add new county road, airport entrance | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden’s planned industrial park could add new county road, airport entrance

Town manager is confident about securing funding for the project’s first phase

Hayden’s plan to build an industrial park across from the Yampa Valley Regional Airport could eventually include a safer and more direct access road to the airport from U.S. Highway 40.

The project started as an entry into the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, but the proposal ultimately wasn’t chosen for funding. Still, Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said another opportunity arose with the Economic Development Administration.

“We’ve gotten notification that we’ve moved to the final stage of funding with EDA,” Mendisco told Routt County commissioners on Monday, May 16. “We do still have to meet some requirements, so our funding is not a certainty. … But assuming all that happens, and EDA is happy with that, we will move to the next phase.”

If funding comes through as anticipated, Mendisco said the town will have leveraged about $400,000 of its own money to get about $8 million in grant funding from various sources. This is enough to complete the planning for the entire 118-acre parcel and to build the infrastructure for the first phase, which will construct about half the full plan.

The town is under contract to buy the land, and the town’s board will begin to take up annexation on Thursday, May 19.

The goal of the project is to build roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure needed to serve lots of various sizes, which could then be developed for light industrial use.

“The idea behind it is a coal transition plan for the town of Hayden area specifically,” Mendisco said. “The whole point is that we want to have a place where businesses could expand.”

As the project developed, Airport Manager Kevin Booth, who also sits on Hayden’s development board, noted it could be an opportunity to fulfill a goal in the airport’s master plan to create one central entrance. Currently, the airport is accessed from the east at Country Road 51 and the west at CR 51A.

This new entrance would join U.S. 40, where there is currently an access road to gravel pits in the area, and go straight toward the industrial park, meeting up with CR 51A at the entrance to the airport.

Mendisco said the landowner has expressed interest in both adding the road and annexing the landowner’s parcel into Hayden.

Not only would the new road be a more direct route, it would avoid a sharp curve that has been a problem in the past, Booth said.

“It would benefit us greatly in that it is shorter and it’s safer,” Booth said. “We’ve had a couple of mishaps — a couple of fuel tank truck turnovers.”

Booth said the current master plan for the airport outlines the possibility for a new entrance in a similar spot.

The tricky thing may be getting funding for the road, which was loosely estimated to cost around $3.5 million to construct. Booth said there is potential for Federal Aviation Administration funding — which would only require a 10% match locally. But that would have to be justified as a realignment to the main airport entrance for safety reasons, a rationale that Booth said he wasn’t confident would be enough.

“I would have to sell it as a safety improvement and not as a third access,” Booth said.

Mendisco was not looking for any funding at this time, instead ensuring that county commissioners were aware of conversations the town was having with county staff.

One benefit is that the intersection for the gravel pit already has long acceleration and deceleration lanes that would be adequate for the new road, according to Routt County Public Works Director Mike Mordi.

“We will continue to go down this road depending on how it goes with negotiations (with the landowner) of the route alignments as that stuff comes up,” Mordi said. “I’m just excited to be in the conversation this early in the plan.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.