Business View Magazine November-December 2018

88 89 THE MURFREESBORO MUNICIPAL AIRPORT operations of the Airport in 1994, hiring an Airport Manager and airport staff to fuel aircraft, maintain the airport, and oversee improvement projects. The City manages the Airport under the direction of the Airport Commission, a sev- en-member advisory board. The Murfreesboro Municipal Airport is one of a very few general aviation airports in the State of Tennessee that does not receive taxpayer money. “We’re com- pletely self-sufficient through fuel sales, hangar rents, and land leases. Those revenue sources make up our operational budget,” Gehrke states. “The City has assisted the Airport with large capital improvement projects through the use of bonds that the Airport pays back to the City typically on a 20 to 30 year term. According to Gehrke, about 140 GA aircraft are based at the Airport, with a waiting list of about two dozen more. “We are in the process of developing an area just north end of the air- field that was previously used by our Parks and Recreation Department,” he reports. “That land was deeded to the Airport a few years ago, and since we have the demand, we’re starting to build in that area now.We have enough available land to pretty much double our T-hangar space with those 25 acres.” Gehrke adds that, in past years, State grants have underwritten the majority of the Airport’s construction costs, but that a new economic paradigm may be in order, going forward. “The State of Tennessee is a block grant state and we’ve generally had a sufficient amount of funding through the state to build hangars and ramps and other infrastructure,” he explains. “Funding levels have dramatically changed within the last five years, so we see where the City may still continue to undertake some T-hangar construction projects, but a major- ity of these hangar proj- ects –box hangars and such–may be conducted through private-public, land-lease type of ar- rangements. Managing the projects and the local, state, and federal funding sources has become a new challenge for the GA airports here in Tennessee.” Meanwhile, over the last few years, the Airport has experienced some significant upgrades that have made it more attractive to corporate cus- tomers. “In 2015, after many years of planning we were finally able to extend our runway,” Gehrke exclaims. “It was previously 3,898 feet, and we were able to extend it to 4,750. Just this spring, we were finally able to get the FAA blessing on the new approaches for the extended runway, so we’re now just starting to see some of that corpo-