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Critical Issues Conference to focus on airport

Linda Hiller

In a perfect world, businesses and homeowners, ranchers and tourists, sportsmen and nature-lovers can all get along, each one feeling no ill effects from the activities of the other.

The only way this can happen, though, is if everyone concerned gets together and talks about what their needs are, what their fears are and what their dreams are.

This is why the Business Council of Douglas County is presenting its fifth annual Critical Issues Conference on June 25, so county officials, members of the business community and concerned residents can get together and talk.

“Our topic this year is the Minden-Tahoe Airport,” said Sandy Cable, executive director for BCDC. “We considered several different subject areas, but it finally came down to the airport and its future. We realized that the airport is sort of a ‘diamond in the rough,’ and wanted to take a closer look at it.”

She quickly added that this is not a meeting to plan for bringing big airlines to Carson Valley.

“Many people are afraid of that, and we aren’t even considering it. We’re not trying to bring in a big polluting industry, either.”

Since economic development usually grows around a center, Cable explained, what grows around the airport in the way of businesses will be determined by many factors.

“There are many varied groups who use the Minden-Tahoe Airport. We have gliders, balloons, powered aircraft, private jets, borate bombers in fire season and the businesses in the nearby industrial park.”

Each of those groups will have a chance to voice their thoughts on the airport during three panel discussions.

The first discussion is titled “The Minden-Tahoe Airport – Past and Present.” Panel members will include county manager Dan Holler, operational services director Jim Braswell, airport manager Vic Redding, county economic development manager John Doughty, airport advisory committee member and business owner Harold Parks, western regional representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Stacy Howard, with airport advisory committee member Ed Court as moderator.

The second panel discussion is titled “Minden-Tahoe Airport – Present and Future Potential,” with Howard, glider pilot and airport advisory committee member Rick Walters, pilot and business owner Barry Bangert, Federal Aviation Administration representative Rick Angelo and state aviation planning coordinator with Nevada Department of Transportation Dennis Taylor. Moderator will be pilot, airport business owner and airport advisory committee chairman Linda Mae Draper.

The third discussion panel is “Minden-Tahoe Airport Economic Development Opportunities.” Panel members will be Holler, Hutt aviation owner Bill Hutt, business owner Budge Brown, former airport advisory board member and Lake Tahoe casino owner Mike Bradford, Northern Nevada Development Authority executive director Kris Holt, with vice president of BCDC Rick Campbell as moderator.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be former Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira who was involved in the development of the Carson City airport and surrounding business park.

Cable said the council is very hopeful that any residents with concerns about the airport will attend the Wednesday conference.

“We would love to have neighbors and residents and concerned citizens come and join the discussion,” Cable said. “All voices will be equal. I plan to have two roving microphones in the audience so questions can be asked at any time.”

The BCDC has previously sponsored four Critical Issues Conferences, beginning in 1993. Topics have covered economic development, water, master plan development and capital improvement programs.

The conference will be held at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden on Wednesday, June 25.

Participants can come early for the continental breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. The conference begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. Those who would like an airport facility tour will reconvene at the Minden-Tahoe Airport at 2 p.m.

The cost for the non-profit conference is $45 which includes continental breakfast and lunch.

For more information and to pre-register, call Cable at 782-6715 or drop a line to BCDC, P.O. Box 2886, Minden 89423.