Airport options remain up in the air
May 7, 2013
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  • The plans on what to do with Sloulin Field International Airport are still up in the air.

    The city of Williston, along with engineering firm KLJ, held a public workshop and information meeting Thursday to help update residents on the status the airport project.

    There are currently three options being considered for relocation, all northwest of the city, as well as an alternative plan for a large overhaul of the existing airport. A final decision will be made on the future of the airport after an environmental study has been completed and public meetings have been held, sometime in either the late summer or fall of 2013.

    An expansion or relocation is needed because of the limits of the current airport. A handout given at the public workshop said the city is looking to build an airport that will keep up with the demands of the rapidly growing area.

    Steven Kjergaard, airport manager at Sloulin Field International Airport, said the new terminal, no matter where it is located, would be of similar size to the Bismarck Airport.

    If the airport was to remain in its current location, Kjergaard said it would take a lot of excavation, and the airport would be shut down for about a year. While a lot of things would have to be moved around to accommodate a new runway and some new buildings, everything would be made to fit on the property. If they did move, the 804 acres that the airport is currently located on would-be parceled out and sold.

    For the land needed if the airport moves, there would be a long process of buying up the land. While eminent domain might be possible if some landowners refuse to sell, that would be the last choice.

    Kjergaard said that if the city was not in the process of improving or building a new airport, it would not have gotten United and Delta to come to Williston. He said that there has been some interest from other airlines but nothing serious.