Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Newsbits: GFAFB future, campus housing, GFK ticket prices

I'm one of those crazy few who sometimes like to be one of the first people in town to read the day's Herald when it comes 3 A.M.! I did so this morning before going to bed and I was pretty happy with three of the stories.

A "Family of UAVs" for GFAFB...
On Tuesday, Governor Hoeven told the Grand Forks Council on Military Relations that GFAFB will soon be the home of a "family of UAVs" including Predators in 2009 and Global Hawks in 2010. We've heard this before, but its good to see that state leaders still feel so strongly about the future missions at the base. The relocation of our tanker mission will mean the removal of 2,645 jobs at the base and the new missions should bring around 2,000 new jobs to replace those. If that's the case, it leaves us with a net loss of 645 jobs at the base. Our leaders still sound pretty positive on the possibility of us getting a new tanker mission in the future. If that really happens, we would end up with a larger base than we started with before this BRAC round. I would consider that to be pretty good news!

Update - 6/17/2006
It's sounding like we can stop worrying about South Dakota getting our this article.

New UND housing complex...
Ground was broken on Tuesday for the new $20 million dollar UND student housing complex west of the Chester Fritz Auditorium. This is the costliest public project ever built on campus (not considering the $100+ million dollar Ralph which was built with private funds) and is part of a larger $50 million dollar campaign - which also includes the new Wellness Center and new Parking Garage - to make the campus a better place for students. I'm really impressed with the design that has gone into this new student housing. If you haven't seen the renderings yet, take a look at this post that I put up a few weeks back.

Suddenly, GFK is looking much better...
Tu-Uyen's Herald article says that ticket prices at GFK are suddenly cheaper than those at Fargo's Hector Field. This comes just days after Senator Dorgan and Grand Forks city council president Hal Gershman met with representatives of Northwest Airlines and pleaded with them to help the airport's dwindling business. I hope this is a permanent change on the part of Northwest. Lower ticket prices at GFK should have some sort of positive impact on use of the airport. I'm glad to see that something good seems to have come out of this meeting. Gee, wouldn't it be something if people from Fargo started to come to GFK for a change because we have cheaper ticket prices? Now, that would really be good news!


Jeni.Ann said...

In response to the groundbreaking for the new residence hall on UND's campus, there's something to be mentioned about that project. Some thoughts from a student.

Semireg said...

RE: A "Family of UAVs" for GFAFB

Why do we call this type of development progress?

Tu-Uyen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tu-Uyen said...

"Why do we call this type of development progress?"

Why not? More jobs is good, right? More people means GF has a better chance of developing a critical mass, which gives us the chance to broaden and diversify the economy.

PartTime said...

In regards to ticket prices being lower now at Grand Forks vs Hector Field, granted, that will help to some degree, but it's not the total solution to the problem of people in our region traveling to Fargo, Minneapolis and even Winnipeg to fly out, those cities have more carriers and more flights which means more options for the traveler. Grand Forks has a regional population of around 98,000 just like Bismarcks. Officials figure we are losing around a third of our travelers to other airports. Lower prices will help, but more flights and more carriers would definately help. Thing is, you need more carriers and flights to get more travelers and you won't get more travelers if there aren't more carriers and flights, one area has to give before the other will change. I was surprised a while back when I had heard for the first time that years ago (not sure how many years) Fargo had proposed building an airport between Grand Forks and Fargo to service both cities, but Grand Forks didn't want anything to do with it. Maybe at the time it didn't sound like a good idea, but now, it sounds like it would have been a good thing.

Anonymous said...

UAVs offer more opportunities to raise the profile of UAV activities at UND, and increases the chances of more small companies and private sector partnerships, such as the nascent UND/Lockeed Martin relationship.

Not only would an airport between the two cities greatly improve the options out of GF, but it would solve the landfill issue. Contrary to what the city says publicly, the FAA is the big reason they want to move the landfill. Take planned landfill expenditures and the suggested airport renovation money and put it into an airport in partnership with fargo. Turn over the Hector field to the NDANG.

The execution on the landfill issue has been absolutely pathetic, both city staff and the elected council are to blame. This is situation that will cost taxpayers indirectly through cash spent by the city on "solutions" and spinning their wheels, and it will cost us directly with increased user fees... yet there seems to be minimal public dialogue on the issue. This current point in the landfill process should have occurred 6-8 years ago, but because of ignorance on the council and incompentce and arrogance at city hall, we are now faced with a serious issue.

Also I would agree that the current leakage out of GFK is more about lack of options and flexiblity and less about price.

Anonymous said...

I used to fly in and out of GFK *weekly*. Then I flew into FAR and MOT once each.

I was amazed at the difference in the people at the airport. In FAR and MOT,

- the person picking me up wasn't chased out of the area in front of the terminal; in fact they could even park there.
- the rental folks were glad to see me and cooperative
- Northwest actually had people at their counter.
- my wife was told she couldn't fly until she packed her purse in her suitcase since she also had a briefcase in GFK.

In addition, GFK used to ban wireless unless you paid for an account - something I've heard they've now changed.

How many ways do you want to make me feel appreciated people? *weekly*

Brooks said...

I love how easy MOT is. maybe im just biased but its a nice airport with good service, nice workers, and no wait times for security or anything

GrandForksGuy said...

I'm glad to see that parking issues at the airport are now being looked at too. With lower ticket prices and better parking opportunities, we are making a good effort to improve the airport's use. Tu-Uyen's Herald article today gave the figures for the month of May and Fargo had 25,103 boardings while we had 6,830. That's terrible. I would like to see us eventually double our boardings, but maybe that's not even feasible.

NanoBison said...

There is no way Grand Forks will double it's boarding figures, not in the next couple of decades, unless you turn your population issues around. You just lost another 1,500 over the last 5 years according to the Census Bureau.

JGS said...

Sorry to bust your bubble, nanobison, but Grand Forks surpassed pre-flood population and we sit at 53,500. I would say we're on the rise and will continue. And in my opinion, it won't matter if our population goes up or down, the airport has issues and it needs to be taken care of. Too many GF people are going to Hector because of flight options.

NanoBison said...

Not enough people are coming into Hector in my opinion. If you want more flights to come into your airport, the only way it's going to happen is by doubling the amount of business done in the Grand Forks metro area. Not going to likely happen anytime soon.

jgs, you didn't burst my bubble, the Census states the Grand Forks metro populations as :

July 1, 2000 : 97,243
July 1, 2004 : 96,046

Thats a loss of 1,197. If you add the 2005 figures, it approaches 1,500 loss. Sorry to burst YOUR bubble. :P

Anonymous said...

The blind cheerleaders for Grand Forks, like jgs, don't let facts get in their way. They think that's how the game is played in G.F. At the end of the day, the only end-result is, they fry their own credibility.

Anonymous said...

The last post was me...another Anon. I would like to add that G.F. is a GREAT community with a rich and fantastic history. However, the town has been saddled in the the post-flood era with HORRIBLE decision making masqueraded in "what's good for the community" and "economic development".

The town can stand on it's own. Overselling it is the wrong way to go. Build on the past and everything will be just fine. Try to spin the future and you'll just turn off enlightened citizens and create more apathy in the community and more problems.

Less than one in ten people vote. Start there!

JGS said...

Read Herald much today, Anon and nano?

"The MPO's own estimate for 2005 is 53,230, up more than 1,000 from the 2004 estimate of 52,164."

Looks like the Census Bureau is being challeneged by GF about it's population figures. So you be the judge.

Anonymous said...

jgs, The real #'s are insignificant. Whichever set is correct, it won't change anything about how things "feel" around town. The MPO has concerns because the Federal gravy train is based on the population #'s. Grand Forks needs to really work towards cutting their dependence of Government bucks and REALLY concentrate on creating demand for the features and attributes that already exist.

Demand is what drives our free market society. Local "officials" will never work from that perspective. It's to easy for them to get a block of CDBG grants dole them out to their buddies and then feel good about themselves.

You want to make a difference? Buck the trend! Call bullshit! You appear to be happy with no-name crap from Wal-Mart and chain restaurant junkfood. That's not what Grand Forks is about. A business gets smacked by a big box retailer or a bad city decision and know what? Those long time citizens pull up and hit the road.

Not good.

NanoBison said...

jgs, I was talking Metropolitan population stats. But I won't get into it with you, becuase the Census is notorious for undercounting our region. Finally, no I do not read the Herald. It is nothing more than one of those cheesy tabloids.