Durango considers building new airport terminal

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News,Business

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Durango officials are considering building a new airport terminal following complaints the current facility is too small, lacks restaurants and has outdated infrastructure.

Aviation director Kip Turner said Tuesday airport officials would like to build a new terminal on a 100-acre lot on the other side of the current runway at an estimated cost of $143 million.

Turner said much of the cost could be covered by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the city of Durango and La Plata County could split the remaining cost of about $40 million.

Turner says he often is dogged by passengers and visitors asking when, if ever, the airport would get a Starbucks or Durango Joe's.

"I get that question the most, by far," he said. For now, the answer is no.

Turner said refurbishing the airport's current terminal isn't financially feasible because the lot is hemmed in by land offering little room for growth.

Turner hopes the airport's current terminal could be turned into office space, the Durango Herald reported Wednesday (http://tinyurl.com/laujcnp).

Airport officials said residents would have to give their approval for any expansion project, an issue that could go before voters in 2015.

A state study says the airport has a $330 million economic impact on the local economy. It was built to handle 100,000 passengers a year, and last year, it handled double that number.

Durango-La Plata County Airport is the fifth-busiest airport in Colorado, and Turner said it is poised to take fourth place.

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Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com

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