Posted: Feb 4, 2013 6:50 PM by David Ortiviz
Updated: Feb 4, 2013 7:59 PM
You may soon hear the sound of more choppers swirling around Pueblo's skies. Pueblo City Council members are studying whether to allow Ft. Carson training from the city's airport. The airport's manager say it could bring a big boost in federal funding, but it's also raising concerns about noise pollution.
Ft. Carson wants to use the airport as a launch site for high-altitude training. "This flight training is really critical," said Pueblo's Airport Director Mark Lovin. "Aircraft do not perform the same at 10,000 ft. as they do as sea level," he added.
Lovin says the U.S. Army would use Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. There would be an average of ten to twenty flights a day, to and from the airport.
Currently the airport handles Air Force training, private flights and one commercial airline. Lovin says this agreement with Ft. Carson could bring in thousands of dollars, in much needed federal funding. Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense reduced funding for the airport from $550,000 to $29,000 because of a decrease in military operations.
"I think the key for surviving for an airport like Pueblo is we're going to be involved in a number of lines of businesses," said Lovin.
However, Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace believes the process is moving too quickly. "Basically I want to know what's the hurry," said Pace.
Pace says Pueblo County has not been officially notified of this plan, even though the flight path could impact the Pueblo West community. He indicated there's a concern about the increase in noise pollution and hopes Ft. Carson will conduct public hearings before any decisions are approved.
"We support our troops, we support the military," said Pace. "But there's still a lot of unanswered questions," he added.
"We want to be good neighbors and the U.S. Army wants to be good neighbors," said Lovin. During the day the helicopters would likely fly above the Highway 50 corridor. However to reduce noise levels at night, the choppers would fly about five miles north of city limits, according to Lovin.
Pueblo City Council members discussed this proposal at their regular meeting Monday night, but have not made any decisions. We'll keep you posted.