MISSOULA – Ravalli County commissioners are signing a tentative agreement to acquire just over 100 acres of land for expansion of the Ravalli County Airport north of Hamilton.
More than a year in the making, the deal could finally clear the way for the airport expansion that’s been discussed for more than 30 years.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already approved of the county’s plans to lengthen the airport’s runways. But a key part of those plans are acquiring additional property.
In January, commissioners were worried a deal wasn’t going to come together in time to access what could amount to more than $12 million in FAA funding to pay for the expansion.
But this week, the county announced it had reached a tentative deal with the Mildenberger Family to acquire 126 acres for $3 million, while still allowing some easement for agricultural use.
“Through those negotiations we’ve come up with something conditionally with the landowner,” said Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows. “And these morning we approved the administrative settlement agreement to send to the FAA and get their approval on that. And then after, if and when the FAA approves that administrative settlement, then it will come back to the county and we’ll finalize the land transfer with a buy/sell agreement.”
Burrows says the Ravalli County Airport expansion is at the top of the regional list of priority projects, so the county is hopeful the deal will be approved.