County, staff at airport choose parking lot design

ALPENA — Alpena County and staff at Alpena County Regional Airport have selected a parking lot design that will be incorporated with the new terminal once it is built.

At Thursday’s airport committee meeting, Airport Manager Steve Smigelski said there would be a pair of parking lots, one for employees and a second for passengers to use while they are out of town. He said the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center also is in support of the design and will return property to the county for the parking use.

“CRTC said if we needed the property we could have it back, but if there are any utilities that need to be added or moved that will be on us to take care of,” Smigelski said.

The county had 10 parking lot designs to choose from and Smigelski said one that was fairly simple was selected for a variety of reasons.

“This one offers us the most for the airport,” he said. “It has the most parking spaces, fewer fancy curve designs which makes snow removal easier and it will be easier to maintain from a grass cutting aspect.”

Smigelski said having more parking is important because as enplanements increase the airport parking for travelers is at a premium. He said making larger lots now will help prevent future spending.

“There are times now we run out of parking space so we want to maximize what we’re going to get,” he said. “If things keep going the way they are we’ll need it. It’s better to do it now than wait and I have to come back and ask for $25,000 to extend a parking lot.”

Airport consultant RS&H has assigned an architect to do a detailed design of the terminal, Smigelski said. The commissioners already have selected a building plan and interior design plan, but the architech will add all of the dimensions, as well as electrical, plumbing and technical details to them.

Smigelski said he has a pair of meetings planned, one with Federal Aviation Administration to show it the preliminary designs and the second with SkyWest and Delta Airlines to do the same.

“We want to make sure the spaces they need are being tweaked like they need to be and show them where everything is,” Smigelski said. “The floor plan will not change as it is now, other than a few tweaks to make sure everybody’s happy.”

The FAA covered a significant amount of the nearly $1 million to have the designs for the terminal made. The county’s terminal project is on an FAA project list that could be in line for discretionary funds next year. Smigelski said indications are good that the money for the terminal will be approved. He said if the FAA helps to fund the terminal, construction would begin early in 2019.

“I have talked to FAA and we have assured them we will have our portion of funding for it,” Smigelski said. “RS&H said they wouldn’t have paid for the design plans if it didn’t intend to move forward with the construction. I like our chances a lot.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.