Taxiway request would pave way for $1M Goshen airport hangar

A radio-controlled plane makes a pass during the Air Supremacy Over Goshen show.

GOSHEN — Construction of a new commercial hangar at Goshen Municipal Airport is expected to bring in extra planes and more demand for fuel, the city council heard Tuesday.

Denny Richmond with the Board of Aviation Commissioners introduced the plan by local company H2 Aviation to build a 12,000-square-foot hangar just east of the Indiana Helicopters hangar. He said the $1 million investment requires the construction of a 234-foot-long taxiway to connect the hangar to the existing taxiway, and he asked council if the city would be willing to pay for the approximately $65,000 project.

“We’re completely out of space, we have been for many years,” he said. “And with this construction we’re able to gain additional fuel sales, and it’s a land rent, since we rent the land for commercial hangars... It’s not only at least three new jets coming to town from other areas, we get hotels, fuel, maintenance, rental cars. It’s a nice package for the city.”

He indicated that it’s the airport commission’s responsibility to pay for the taxiway, which has to meet certain aviation industry standards, but that it’s not an expense they are able to cover this year. 

“We, along with other departments, as you probably know, have had our budget cut in the past few years from $200,000, we’re down to $50,000 this year,” Richmond remarked. “So with that, we’re asking for your support for this appropriation.”

Airport Manager Randy Sharkey said the company approached them earlier this year about its plan and asked if the airport could provide a taxiway in turn. He said it was an unplanned expense, but they hope to build the hangar before the end of the year.

He pointed out that the extra fuel sales and land lease would generate about $15,000 a year, which would cover the cost of the connector in four to five years. The airport would also gain ownership of the new hangar after the lease expires in 40 years.

“That’s the way all the contract leases read with the corporate operators, is that they have to turn that hangar back over to the city of Goshen at the end of the second  term,” he said. “So, what do we get? $15,000 a year for 40 years and then a million-dollar hangar at the end of that term. I believe the $65,000 investment is well spent.”

Sharkey also explained that H2 Aviation is a new corporate partner, though it has ties to the flight school that operates at the airport. He said it’s expected to bring two to four additional planes to the airport.

Richmond said there’s potential for another two 12,000-square-foot hangars to be built east of H2’s planned hangar. He presented council with plans drawn up by DJ Construction, which submitted the $63,783 taxiway proposal, showing this year’s construction as well as potential future hangars and a length of taxiway joining the 234-foot connector. 

Council members praised the operation of the airport and indicated a willingness to pay for the taxiway, with Council President Brett Weddell saying it made financial sense. They didn’t take any formal action on the request Tuesday.

Councilman Adam Scharf pointed out that the taxiway is a capital project that would probably be eligible for funding from the Southeast Tax Increment Finance District that the airport is in. The request would have to be brought to the Goshen Redevelopment Commission.

“I think theoretically, TIF funds could be one option in a bag of tricks to come up with these funds,” he said.

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