Big news for the future of aviation and tourism here in the greater Wenatchee area after State and local officials announced Tuesday that the Pangborn Memorial Airport will receive a $200,000 dollar marketing grant to expand services outside the Pacific Northwest.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell hosted a press conference at Pangborn to announce that the airport has been awarded the air service marketing grant.
Cantwell, chair of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, said Pangborn is a very important economic issue for the region, adding that more infrastructure and investments in the airport are needed in order to keep the job market growing in the Wenatchee Valley. She said it’s a two-pronged investment…"CLICK HERE" for Audio
The grant comes from the US Department of Transportation but will be matched with an additional $50 thousand dollars from local partners. Those include the Ports of Chelan and Douglas counties, the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and the airport itself.
Director of Pangborn Memorial Airport, Trent Moyers, says potential marketing campaigns could include tv and print advertisements, radio spots and ads in the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine. He says the airport is still in the phase of developing the plan on how best strategically use the grant money…"CLICK HERE" for Audio
Officials involved in Pangborn and its new marketing campaign said they feel the timing couldn’t be better. The main catalyst making new commercial air services possible at Pangborn is a 3-year runway extension project currently underway.
The airport is purchasing properties on the north and south sides of Grant Road in order to have the space for a longer runway.
Construction to realign Grant Road and Union Avenue is expected to begin in spring and fall 2014. Runway and taxiway extensions should happen in 2015, with the final touches going in at the start of 2016.
Commissioner for the Port of Douglas County Mark Spurgeon said that tourism is the valley’s second largest sector. Last year, travelers and tourists spent $603 million dollars in north central Washington and supported earnings of $176 million dollars.
Spurgeon said the commissioners would like to see that tourism and travel shift away from driving and moved towards flying…"CLICK HERE" for Audio
Another entity equally invested in the economic opportunities created through the grant money is the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has recently been expanding their role in the community and not only supports local business, but works on destination marketing and visitor services.
Executive Director for the chamber Shiloh Schauer said it’s all about creating partnerships."CLICK HERE" for Audio
And in order to receive that exposure, and in turn the tourism, Cantwell said the proper infrastructure needs to be in place. She said the 21st century is all about staying ahead in aviation and this grant money is just one of many ways to make sure aviation stays at the forefront of economic development in this area…"CLICK HERE" for Audio
The chamber of commerce and ports of Chelan and Douglas counties have already worked their matching funds into their 2014 budgets. Expect to see the marketing campaign hit full force starting next year.