As Sherman Municipal Airport prepares for expected growth, leaders will soon have guidance from members of the local aviation community.
The Sherman City Council recently reestablished the Sherman Municipal Airport Advisory Board nearly seven years after it was decommissioned in 2002. The move by the council comes as city leaders have shown a renewed interest in the airport and possible impact it could have for the city.
“Since that time, we’ve had increasing interest in development and we’ve recently completed the first phase of the airport master plan,” Sherman Director of Finance Mary Lawrence said.
The original group was disbanded in a time when the city was considering alternative uses for the airport and there had been a decrease in interest from developers.
City Manager Robby Hefton said there was still a demand for amenities at the city airport, but no one wanted to be the one to carry the costs. Instead, the city was expected to lead the effort.
“We were hearing from some users at the airport that there was a demand there,” he said. “There was not really anyone to step up until recently and say, ‘I’ll put my money into doing that.’ Many of the requests from 10-plus years ago were, ‘there is a demand; hey city, why don’t you put your money in.’ “
Earlier this year the city completed the first phase of a master plan for the airport which will give guidelines for possible development of the property. The council approved a contract for the second phase of the project, which will go into finer details regarding specific projects and potential funding sources.
“An important part of the master plan is stakeholder input and staff believe the airport advisory board is an important liaison between users of the airport and city council and staff,” Lawrence said.
Many of the issues that the group will advise on will be based around the findings and suggestions of the second phase of the master plan, said Nate Strauch, Sherman community and support services manager.
“The board will not be focused on the day-to-day minutiae of airport operation; rather, board members will work in broad strokes to shape the future of the airport and direct the city’s attention toward those issues the flying community finds most pressing,” he said.
The new group will be made up of seven Grayson County residents, of which three must be residents of Sherman. Members will be limited to two, two-year terms. A city official will also serve as a liaison for the board.
The request to reestablish the board was met by a unanimous vote by the council, with council member Willie Steele speaking in favor despite previous misgivings.
“I was one of those that had my doubts about the airport for many years,” Steele said, as he motioned to approve the reestablishment of the board. “It is exciting to see the airport is possibly on the verge of expansion and growth.”
So far, the city has received two applications for the board, and potential applicants are asked to apply through the county clerk’s office. Strauch said the city hopes to have the board empanelled by the end of the fiscal year this October.