Construction is expected to begin at Peter Prince Airport to build eight to 10 additional airplane hangars, later this year.

             The project is five-to-six years in the making, according to County Engineer Roger Blaylock. He said the construction falls in line with expected growth at the airport that handles mostly single-engine planes.

            The entire project is expected to cost $840,000. Santa Rosa County will be funding the construction with help from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), according to Blaylock. The county will be responsible for $336,000, while the FDOT will fund the remaining $504,000 as part of a joint participation agreement.

            Santa Rosa County has been involved in this cost-sharing program with the FDOT since 1988, according to Blaylock.           

            Bidding for the hangar construction project will begin in the next 30-60 days, Blaylock says, with an expected award date this summer. The county will lease the new hangers to private parties for a monthly fee. Current fees for storage range from $175 to $225 for light-twin and cabin-twin hangars and $800 to $1,000 for corporate hangars. Revenue generated from the rentals is put directly back into the airport, Blaylock says.

            County officials say Peter Prince Airport currently has 100 hangars at full occupancy. There are 31 tie-down spaces sharing apron space where planes can be strapped down to the runway for storage, according to David Glass, president of aircraft management services. The Federal Aviation Administration requires both county and private operations receive equal access to the airport. Glass says there are tentative plans to expand tie-down spaces to an existing parking lot at the site.

            Single-engine planes, according to an airport study released by the county, generate 98 percent of the airport traffic. There are a small number of twin-engine planes and helicopters stored at the East Milton location. Demand for additional storage is expected to continue largely within the single-engine format, with a slight increase in small twin-engine planes.