Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Developing old airport property discussed


January 9, 2020

Phil Scheel was elected as chairman of the County Commissioners with Tom Ryan stepping down into the vice chairman position during the reorganization of the commissioners for 2020.

Along with those elections, the board appointed Arnold Pennoyer to the Fairboard. Pennoyer has spent 34 years on the board helping Hot Springs County youth.

Additionally, Dee Hillberry and Toddi Darlington were both appointed to the Natural Resource Planning Commission and Mark Phips was named to the Predatory Animal Control Board.

Things are moving along with plans for the former airport site near Round Top.

Jackie Dorothy, marketing manager for the project, presented the commissioners with the first draft of the grant they will be applying to through the Wyoming Business Council.

The $3 million dollar grant will be used to try to bring development to the old airport property that could include a convention center and hotel. Initially, the funds will be used for infrastructure to the area as well as reclamation of the area to have it build-ready when the time comes.

Dorothy brought along a representative from Rogue Marketing out of Casper whom she would like to see create a website for the property to get the word out to potential investors. She and the commissioners would like to see investors already lined up by the time the property is cleared up so building can begin immediately.

The commissioners suggested a pair of meetings, one on Jan. 16 and another on Jan 23 to further discuss not only the website, what they would want in it and its cost, but to meet with other entities such as TO Engineers to get a more complete idea of what the land’s potential is.

With the unsettling situation in the Middle East, Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Gordon spoke on the phone Tuesday with the Department of Homeland Security.

Gordon informed the commissioners the department does not believe there is a credible threat to American soil right now, but he was informed the Iranians are quite adept at cyber attacks including ransomware and total data deletion.

This kind of attack could happen without any warning, so we are advised to be on our toes while surfing the Internet. If something looks suspicious, don’t open it, just delete it.

The department also said those who are in charge of things like the nationwide electrical grid are currently on high alert. In a nutshell, Gordon said everyone should remain aware of their surroundings and what they are doing.

Nate Messenger reported 128 operations out at the airport, which is pretty busy for the month of December. Of those operations, 11 were air ambulances and one was a life flight helicopter. Several more life flight choppers landed and took off from the firehall during December as well.

John Newkirk joined Messenger to ask the commissioners for permission to enclose the additional space at his t-hangar in order to have a bit more room. His plane takes up a majority of the hangar and he has nowhere to put a workbench or anything without banging his head on the wings.

Newkirk brought Pete Weisbeck with him to the meeting along with a well documented proposal on exactly what he would like Weisbeck to do as far as enclosing the unused areas, including what the final project would look like.

The commissioners approved the renovations to the hangar.


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