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Paynesville Press - July 10, 2002

Paynesville Regional Airport Commission

The Paynesville Regional Airport Commission held a special meeting on Monday, July 1, at city hall.

The commission approved updated appraisals for the 186 acres needed for the new airport west of Paynesville. Since the previous appraisals for the airport commission were completed in February 2001, the commission was advised to have them updated in case acquisition is done in court.

The airport commission has started condemnation proceedings to acquire the needed land through legal means. The airport commission could gain title to the land within the next month.

The new appraisals, which include four new land sales in Paynesville Township, have increased the market value of the property to $1,600 per acre, up from $1,300 per acre previously. The airport commission needs to purchase at least 150 acres and needs to have easements for another 30 acres.

(The price for a perpetual easement is figured at half of the market rate, or $800 per acre.)

The increase in market value means more money likely will be spent on land acquisition. The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the new airport now includes $447,600 for land acquisition, up from $373,000 in February. The total cost for the initial construction - including land acquisition, legal fees, appraisals, runway grading and paving, lighting, paving the taxiway and apron, preparing the hangar site, and building a 20-unit "Tee" hangar with an office - $2,237,900, of which the Minnesota Department of Transportation should pay $1,441,980 and the city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township would pay $721,320, with the township's share limited to $200,000.

Rising values of land, over time, was used by the appraiser to help establish the new market value. Using numbers from the Stearns County Assessor's Office, deeded acreage in Paynesville Township had an average value of $709 per acre in 2000. This increased 11 percent to $787 per acre in 2001 nearly 16 percent to $911 per acre in 2002.

Commission members Dave Peschong, Bert Stanley, and Steve Whitcomb voted to accept the updated appraisals. Commission members John Atwood and Ed McIntee were absent.

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