Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Regional Airport is chugging away on modifications and improvements ahead of the ski season.
The Hayden facility expects to have wireless Internet installed, plans to put in a gate for commercial vehicles and aims to have a new sign on U.S. Highway 40 this year. Airport Manager Dave Ruppel spoke to the Routt County Board of Commissioners about those goals Monday.
Kiva, a Front Range company, will install the Internet in the next few weeks, Ruppel said. YVRA is in talks with three local real estate agencies that want to sponsor the service, he said. The airport plans to divide the cost among those sponsors, who will advertise on the service.
The installation costs about $4,800, which YVRA aims to recoup through those contracts, Ruppel said.
The new gates, which the commissioners approved Tuesday, will keep noncommercial vehicles out of the way of buses, taxis and shuttles that have contracts with YVRA, Ruppel said. Currently, signs explain that only those vehicles are allowed in the commercial area. But drivers sometimes miss or ignore those signs, Ruppel said.
Under the new gate system, commercial operators will get a sticker for their vehicle that allows them in and out of the parking area.
"Have you already talked to the ground transportation folks?" County Manager Tom Sullivan asked Ruppel on Monday.
"We provided them with a brief on this," Ruppel said. "It should help them."
The system also will allow the airport to monitor the number of visits for each vehicle. Companies that contract with YVRA must pay a $5 fee per vehicle per visit, Ruppel said. The airport assesses those based on what the companies report, but the system will track visits electronically.
The contract with DGO Access also allows for a scanner for the paid parking lot for annual pass holders and a machine so people who eat at the HDN Paradise Bar & Grill in YVRA can validate their parking but not abuse the system.
"We're hoping to start work on that here in the next couple of weeks," Ruppel said Tuesday.
Ruppel and YVRA staff members are talking with local companies about designs for a new sign on U.S. 40. The existing sign is poorly lit and difficult to see from the road, Ruppel has said.
He's seeking something simple and hopes to have a lighted sign in place this season.
"We want to just put the airport symbol on it," Ruppel told commissioners. "Just two panels with the symbol in between and powered by solar power. That's what we're asking for."