Williston Airport Free Parking Problems - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Williston Airport Free Parking Problems

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Williston's Sloulin Field boarded over 39,000 passengers in the first six months of this year.

That's more than double the first six months of last year, and about eight times the number of passengers who boarded in Williston five years ago.

As Jennifer Thorgramson tells us, the growing pains at Williston airport go beyond the boardings.

(Heather Ost, Hertz Station Manager) "Parking problems. It's always all about the parking problems."

It's a fairly common complaint at any airport.

But passengers are usually referring to the high price for a week of parking.

Price is not the problem here at Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston.

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field Airport Manager) "All the parking is free. That was due to the FAA paying for them originally. In order for us to become a pay lot, we would have to reimburse the FAA for the cost of it minus the depreciated value."

Since it's only depreciated seven years on a lot with a 30 year lifetime, it would cost the city of Williston close to a million dollars to reclaim the lot to charge for parking.

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field Airport Manager) "Parking is such a massive revenue generator for airports."

When does 'free' become a problem?

When it runs out.

(Heather Ost, Hertz Station Manager) "When I first started here it was only Great Lakes Airline and the parking lot on the north side over here, there were a number of spots that were open. In November when Delta and United came in here, it seems like when they came in this lot completely filled up. There's been parking problems ever since then."

For now, parked cars crowd the streets leading to the terminal.

The solution may not be closer, but the 208 spots that will be created in the green space along airport road will be safer.

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field Airport Manager) "It will provide quite a few additional spots and alleviate some of the parking on the streets that realistically isn't safe and needs to stop."

(Heather Ost, Hertz Station Manager) "Each one of us car rental agencies have 12 spots but all of us have well over 12 cars so it's a fight between down at the wash bay area or just down the block. It's a constant battle."

Anther area of business: parking for aircrafts, is still at a stale mate with a 19 person hangar waiting list.

(Steven Kjergaard, Sloulin Field Airport Manager) "It's a double edged sword right now. We need hangar space. But the city is not going to pay to build any. Either way we're going to spend a lot of money and until we decide what's going on, no person is going to build a personal hangar."

And 'what's going on' could mean relocating the airport from its land locked location.

Because parking problems are only the start of the need for Sloulin Field to stretch its wings.

In Williston, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

The new lot at the corner of Airport Road and the frontage road across from the CVB will be done this fall.

Parking in that lot will also be free with a two week time limit.

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