Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 21, 2002

Winsted airport runway to stay turf

By Julie Yurek

Winsted Airport will stay a turf runway, the Winsted City Council decided Tuesday.

Earlier this month at a workshop, the council debated about whether to pave the runway or leave it as turf.

The council decided to keep it a grass runway and re-zone the airport and industrial park to meet Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) regulations.

The industrial park will still be affected by the turf runway, but not nearly as much as previously thought.

Tree obstructions need to be trimmed or removed, and the southeast road located inside the airport will close, City Administrator Brent Mareck said.

Also, no buildings can be erected in the extreme northwest corner of the industrial park.

If the decision to pave would have been made, then a larger section of the northwest corner of the industrial park would need to be zoned for no construction.

Mareck and Ken Kubasch of the airport commission met with officals at MnDOT Aeronautics last Monday to discuss the city's options.

The state also suggested implementing a parallel taxiway strip as a safety measure, Kubasch said.

"Now, an airplane lands, it turns around, and is using the same grass twice to go back," he said.

"Instead of running it the whole length of the runway, maybe it would be a segmented project ­ one half next summer, the other half the year after that," Kubasch said.

The taxiway could be either paved or turf, Mareck said.

Mareck will look into the criteria for the parallel taxi strip, and get some bids.

Council member Gary Lenz suggested contacting Lester Prairie and Silver Lake about a joint effort to build a new airport.

"Put it out someplace where there is room to do it right," Lenz said.

This community airport could accommodate larger airplanes and would be built without all the problems Winsted has had, he said.

"It doesn't cost anything to contact those cities to see if they have interest in doing a joint effort," council member Tom Ollig said.

In other airport matters, Kubasch spoke of having a card type fuel dispense system installed at the airport that would take credit cards.

The current pump doesn't always work in the cold weather, he said.

"The tanks are only a couple of years old, so all we would just be looking at the dispensing equipment," Kubasch said.

"Let's find out what that would cost," Mayor Don Gueggemos said.

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