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									                                CROSSROADS REPORT
                                    By Kent Brunette
                                       6.20.2012

Don’t forget. Bremond’s Polish Day is this Saturday, June 23.

Crossroads Report will start appearing on a bi-weekly basis. Dennis Phillips (the new
publisher/managing editor) and I will take turns writing columns every other week. These will
appear on page 4.

The corporate jet takes off from its Oklahoma base and heads south into the crisp early morning
air. Its destination: Hearne. Not a stranger to the area, this is the third trip this year that this
expensive plane has made to Robertson County’s only general aviation airport.

As it silently appears on the central Texas horizon, an entourage of freshly washed vehicles
arrives to transport the plane’s cargo of company executives to their local destination. After being
on the ground for only an hour and a half, the passengers are whisked back onto the tarmac
where they hop into the plane and head off into the wild blue yonder.

Some ten years and a couple of city managers ago, the City of Hearne and its 4A sales tax board
engaged the services of the Texas Engineering Service (TEEX) at Texas A&M to identify needed
improvements at the Hearne Airport. Much like the checklists pilots use before taking flight, the
city and 4A have been systematically accomplishing major airport improvements and checking
them off of the TEEX-recommended list.

The latest round of airport funding was triggered by a letter Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez initiated
to TxDOT Aviation several months ago complaining about the need for a perimeter fence. This
letter put the state on notice that wild hogs and deer are creating on-going safety hazards at the
Hearne Airport.

Hearne Economic Development was recently notified that close to $1.3 million is being
programmed into TxDOT Aviation’s capital improvements program for the Hearne airport. While
airport improvements are costly, the projects below qualify for 90/10 grant funding which means
that the city, through its 4A board, only has to cough-up a fraction of the total cost.

That’s good since bulldozing the fence lines and installing the planned 21,300 linear foot
perimeter game fence with four gates around the airport weighs in at $630,000. The rehabilitation
of the taxiways and aprons will run an additional $367,000. Resurfacing the runway will cost
another $297,000. This adds up to a total 4A contribution of roughly $130,000 to pay its share for
the latest $1.3 million installment of an airport improvement project that has spanned almost ten
years.

These improvements come on the heels of a private developer building four, big, two-plane
hangars at the Hearne Airport.

The City of Hearne has already mailed in a check for the 25% local share of a 75/25 grant to
install a new fuel farm. While Hearne’s 4A Board and Robertson County each contributed
$30,000 towards this new facility, the state is picking-up the lion’s share of this quarter million
dollar fueling system that will help attract area pilots to our area.

In an attempt to better serve pilots and prepare for future airport growth, the City of Hearne and
its 4A board have been taking advantage of all available airport funding opportunities in recent
years. These federal and state airport programs are increasingly in jeopardy in today’s program-
cutting environment.

While the high dollar expenditures are necessary to maintain a safe airport, some of the less
costly tasks are the most noticeable. Swing by and look at the bull-dozing, burning, and root-
plowing work that has been done at the northern end of the runway. No longer hidden from view
by scrub trees, saplings, and underbrush, the airport is now clearly visible from FM485. A night-
time drive-by is down-right impressive.

The Hearne Chamber of Commerce plans to throw a grand, multi-county celebration that
commemorates the airport’s re-dedication after the fuel farm becomes operational.

Crossroads Reports appear periodically in the Robertson County News and are archived at the
Hearne chamber’s website. The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the City of Hearne, Hearne’s 4A and 4B Sales Tax Boards,
Hearne Chamber of Commerce, or the Robertson County News.

								
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