Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport may need $100M upgrade, city to foot half the bill
The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport may need $100 million in the next five years to accommodate potential growth and customers, and the city of Dickinson may have to foot more of the bill than usual, officials said Tuesday.
"That is $20 million a year. The (Federal Aviation Administration) is not going to have that much in their reserve to support Dickinson, Williston and Minot," Dickinson airport manager Matthew Remynse said.
Dickinson City Commissioner Joe Frenzel reported at a city commission meeting Monday that the Dickinson airport, Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston and the Minot International Airport will need $400 million in the next five to ten years to operate.
Dickinson may need to expand its runways and build a terminal, Remynse said. Williston may have to move its airport while Minot builds another terminal and parking lot, Frenzel added.
The Citizen Advisory Committee for the airport, which Frenzel sits on, discussed adding airlines and expanding the airport terminal with the FAA during its master plan meeting May 1. It will continue to examine the airport's needs until the plan is complete in February.
"Is that something that we could look at tomorrow and say it will work? Probably not," Remynse said.
An oil boom in western North Dakota has brought more people to the area, which has also prompted the airport to expand, City Engineer Shawn Soehren said. Despite adding more parking and expanding the terminal, the airport may need more additions and renovations.
"There's a lot of challenges ahead out there," he said. "We've added parking spots, but if you drive by there now that parking lot is full plus some almost every single day."
The FAA usually provides 90 percent of the funding if it is federally eligible, Remynse said. But up to 50 of the funds may have to come from a local source, Frenzel said.
"I don't know where we can come up with $50 million," the commissioner said. "It's going to be our job, the job of the commission, to work on the state ... to let them know it's coming."
Frenzel added the airport could reach 26,000, but limited flights, capacity restrictions and availability of crew members holds back its full potential.
"The suggestion was that what is keeping Dickinson from 50,000 is simply we don't have the aircraft," he said.
The news was disturbing yet interesting, the commissioner said. The lack of airlines and extra crews could be a problem for the growing town.
"We can't grow with that kind of service," he said.
The $100 million is a rough estimate, the airport manager said. Remynse said the airport will need to expand to meet growth. How fast Dickinson grows will influence how much the airport needs that money.
Dickinson uses Great Lakes Airlines for flights. It sends off four flights to Denver and receives three flights from the Colorado city daily.