Ready for takeoff: San Marcos airport gets federal, state boost


FEBRUARY 20, 2014

The San Marcos Municipal Airport was awarded a $5.77 million facelift in federal and state monies to improve pavement and lighting at the facility, particularly to its ILS (instrument landing system) runway.

Stephen Alexander of Texas Aviation Partners, the private company which manages the airport, said the award would be used to resurface and repair runway 13-31, the ILS runway used by pilots during inclement weather, and to widen the airport’s entrance at State Highway 21.

“These funds help put the San Marcos Airport on a glide path to a better future,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett in a statement. “Continued improvements will allow the airport to better serve Central Texas fliers.”

The airport’s $5.77 million was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission at its January meeting, as part of a $17 million grant used for airport improvements across Texas, according to the state agency.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) awards federal and state funding for capital improvement projects and to help develop and establish Texas airports as authorized by the federal Airport and Airway Improvement Act and the state’s Aviation Facilities Development and Financial Assistance Act, according to the Texas Transportation Commission, which operates under TxDOT.

San Marcos’ airport took the largest chunk of the $17 million grant, and will use $5,470,500 for the pavement and lighting improvements and $300,000 to widen the entrance road.

“We’re always striving to seek grant dollars that are available to improve the airport,” Alexander said, adding that the facility is a vital component to the economic vibrancy of the city and potentially the region.

In the past three years, the San Marcos Municipal Airport has been awarded funding for major improvements to include the traffic control tower, which opened in 2011; and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will install Terminal Radar Display safety equipment at the airport in February, Doggett said.

This year, TxDOT expects to provide about $60 million in funding for planning, construction and maintenance at community airports, according to state agency officials. Approximately 275 community airports in Texas are eligible for funding.

A project consultant will be selected this winter for the improvements at the San Marcos Municipal Airport, TxDOT officials said. The project costs will be funded through the city of San Marcos and TxDOT’s Aviation Facilities Grant Program.

San Marcos will provide a ten percent local match to the state and federal dollars.

Regional event brings AOPA to members

For many pilots, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than enjoying all things general aviation. That’s the experience AOPA is bringing to members and aviation enthusiasts nationwide with a series of six regional AOPA Fly-Ins and a special AOPA Homecoming in Frederick, Md.

AOPA Fly-InsThe AOPA Fly-Ins are built around the association’s members, but everyone is welcome to join in the fun. Each gathering will begin with a traditional pancake breakfast and town hall discussion with AOPA President Mark Baker. Baker will talk about the big issues affecting general aviation, discuss key AOPA initiatives, and answer questions from the audience.

Following breakfast, there will be opportunities for AOPA members to meet and mingle with one another and AOPA staff, take part in educational and safety seminars, and explore aircraft displays and aviation exhibits. Various flying activities and clinics will be offered, and for those who aren’t yet pilots, each event will include a learn-to-fly area.

There is no charge for admission, and as a special thank-you, AOPA members will receive a complimentary lunch

“Each Fly-In is going to be a full day of fun,” said Baker. “I love to spend time at the airport with my fellow pilots, and I’m excited that we can bring this GA experience to so many different parts of the country. We want to get more involved with our members at the grassroots level, and I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend time together than surrounded by airplanes!”

The regional events were inspired by AOPA members who asked how they could get more involved with their association and meet other members who live and fly nearby.

“Forging a strong community is good for pilots and good for general aviation, so when members came to us looking for ways to help support airports and build their own community ties, we knew we needed to get involved,” Baker said.

The debut year of AOPA Fly-Ins will be highlighted with a special AOPA Homecoming event to mark the return of the annual Frederick Fly-Ins and to celebrate the association’s seventy-fifth anniversary. On Oct. 4, AOPA will open the doors of its Frederick headquarters to welcome home members from across the country and around the world.

In addition to the Frederick event, six AOPA Fly-Ins are scheduled.

San Marcos Municipal Airport (HYI), San Marcos, Texas—April 26

Indianapolis Regional Airport (MQJ), Indianapolis, Ind.—May 31

Plymouth Airport (PYM), Plymouth, Mass.—July 12

Spokane Felts Field (SFF), Spokane, Wash.—Aug. 16

Chino Airport (CNO), Chino, Calif.—Sept. 20

Malcolm McKinnon Airport (SSI), Brunswick, Ga.—Nov. 8

“These are some of the friendliest airports in the country, and they’ve promised a warm welcome for AOPA members, whether you fly in or drive,” said Baker.

Each airport is near other historical or cultural attractions, making the AOPA Fly-Ins a great anchor for a weekend getaway the whole family will enjoy.

More details about the events as well as information to help you plan your visit are available online. Information about sponsoring or exhibiting at the AOPA Fly-Ins will be available in February.

Student art contest winners announced


As part of the festivities of National Planning Month in October, the city of San Marcos Development Services Department held a student art contest entitled, “My Favorite Place in San Marcos.” Winning students were recognized at an event that brought the public and the different board and commission members that deal with development in the city together.

Taking first place was Hernandez fourthgrader Ryan Sean Metcalf for his rendition of the San Marcos Airport, Mendez fifth-grader Araceli Castillo took second with her drawing of Rio Vista and Hernandez fourth-grader Harrison Mayhew placed third with his drawing of the San Marcos Fire Station.

Honorable mention went to Hernandez Elementary first-grader Elena Francis for her rendition of the San Marcos Public Library, Mendez fourth-grader Aliz Garces-Galindo for her drawing of Sunset Bowling Lanes, and Mendez third-grader Exetvan Cervantes for his version of Wonder World Cave.

All are students of Kay Posey who teaches art at both Mendez and Hernandez Elementary schools. The winning art work was displayed at the San Marcos Activity Center on Nov. 8.