Sherman Municipal Airport is one step closer to increasing its capacity for housing aircraft. The City Council voted Monday night to advertise for bids for the construction of a new seven-unit hangar on the airport property.

The need for additional hangar space has been a repeated topic of conversation by city officials as Sherman completes work on its new airport master plan. Through this document, the city is considering incremental increases to the airport’s hangar space that will more than double its capacity over the next 20 years.

“One of the most desired improvements at the airport, as shown by the master plan, is additional hangars,” said Sherman Finance Director Mary Lawrence.

The plan calls for an additional 27 hangar units to be constructed over the course of the next two decades. However, in 2019, there are only two spaces that are ready for development along the airport’s apron. Monday night’s action will clear the way for the city to determine the cost of the first of these two hangar projects.

As a part of the drafting of the master plan, city officials found that there are more than 2o people currently waiting for space to house and base aircraft at Sherman Municipal. This and recent interest from outside developers led city officials to consider the best way to support development and growth at the airport.

City Manager Robby Hefton said Monday’s vote would not clear the way for the project to move forward with construction. Instead, it would only test the waters and see if the project would be viable to move forward.

If the price is within the city’s budget, it would go back before the council for approval, Hefton said.

City officials estimate that the first phase of improvements will cost about $400,000. However, about $50,000 of funding could be provided through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Routine Airport Maintenance Program, also known as the RAMP grant.

The remaining cost would be funded using the airport fund, which is supported through facility leasing and fuel sales at Sherman Municipal. If the improvements prove successful, city officials previously said they hope that they will be able to increase revenues and support further investment in the airport.