Around Osceola

City shares airport, Hoagland expansion details

Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

By Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

The city of Kissimmee has big plans for its roads, trails, and the area around Kissimmee Gateway Airport.

This is good news for those who get around town on a bicycle or do business with those who do business at the airport.

Kissimmee’s network of Development Services department held a public workshop at City Hall Monday to give residents in the area a chance to see some of the changes that are coming to roads, trails and the airport, and provide some input.

Of most interest were the Shingle Creek Regional Trail Project, the plans for the new routing of Hoagland Boulevard between Clay Street and U.S. Highway 192 and the development opportunities available to expand business around the airport.

Bike enthusiasts asked about the third phase of Martin Luther King Boulevard, currently under construction from Thacker Avenue to Dyer Boulevard, just a few hundred feet north of the airport entrance. The bike lane on the road was proposed to swing a couple hundred feet from the street around the perimeter of a block of land proposed for commercial commerce in the airport’s master plan.

Terry Lloyd, the city’s aviation director and Kissimmee Gateway Airport’s manager, said the airport’s long-term plans tie in with the 192 Community Redevelopment Agency, the West 192 Redevelopment board and the Downtown CRA.

“We’re assisting the city’s consultants in planning and economic development to come up with a plan, and we’ll get public feedback with that,” he said.

The city is looking to find a grant that will cover hiring experts to provide the economic advice to form a study that will offer the best economic framework for operations on and near the airport.

There are over a dozen lots totaling more than 200 acres sitting vacant that the airport currently hold leases on in an area bordered by Thacker Avenue, the current Hoagland Boulevard and the future Martin Luther King Boulevard around the airport. They are currently zoned for aviation, commercial and commercial/private use, and some may need to be changed to suit best possible future use, Lloyd said.

“We want to develop vacant property at the airport for uses that can lead to non-tourism job creation,” he said. “We want to use the airport to attract aviation jobs.”

The airport projects healthy expansion. In 2022, the final year of its current long-term project phase, it forecasts to be the “home base” for nearly 500 aircraft and have more than 297,000 annual air operations, a 50 percent increase over 2012.

Plans call for expanding the north-south runway 200 feet to 6,200 and the shorter east-west runway 500 to 5,500 feet.

With that expansion, growth is inevitable, and local residents showed concern for that Monday, although the city has curbs in mind for that. As an example, it classifies Oak Street between Thacker Avenue and Dyer Boulevard as a “local resident road” and does not anticipate industrial traffic

“Our last noise study was in 2008,” Lloyd said. “I sympathize with residents in areas like Orange Gardens. We’ve had some strange weather patterns that forced us to use the east-west runway more. They also hear traffic going into Orlando (International Airport).”

The new plans for Hoagland Boulevard south of the airport to just north of John Young Parkway were also popular among residents. The route for the four-lane road, passing west of the current configuration that has two 90-degree turns, has already been approved, but acquiring all the right of way must be done before road construction can start, and Kissimmee Director of Public Works & Engineering Dave Derrick said that will likely take about three years.

“It comes down to funding,” he said. “We know it’s going to happen, we just hope we can be pleasantly surprised and get started in 2016.”

The public will have future opportunities for comment, which will be listed on the city’s website (www.kissimmee.org).

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