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Granite Shoals Airport needs more buzz, committee decides

Granite Shoals Airport

The Granite Shoals Airport has a new helipad, public picnic tables, and portable restrooms thanks to recent efforts of the Airport Advisory Committee. More upgrades are in the works, and the committee is looking to increase its outreach to communities across the Highland Lakes. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

A workshop to discuss how best to market the Granite Shoals Airport and its future events is Thursday, May 18. Members of the Airport Advisory Committee on May 4 decided to team with city officials to find better ways to spread the word on upcoming events, such as Meet the Pilots or free flights with the Experimental Aviation Association’s Young Eagles Program

The committee is also seeking applications to fill two vacant seats. Applications can be found on the Granite Shoals city website and handed in at City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road, or emailed to City Secretary Dawn Wright at citysecretary@graniteshoals.org.

“Let’s get the word out to communities around the lake,” Committee President Steve Zbranek said during the Thursday meeting. “We need to learn how to cast the net a lot further about the things that we do.”

Zbranek cited the airport’s first Meet the Pilots event on April 1 as a good example of the city’s limited reach to neighboring communities. Seven pilots flew into the Granite Shoals Airport along with an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter and city emergency service vehicles to mingle with visitors and offer tours of their equipment. According to Zbranek, 60-70 people attended, but he believes it could have been a lot more.

The committee discussed holding another Meet the Pilots sometime in June or July, depending on the buzz that could be built in the meantime. 

City Manager Peggy Smith agreed that it can be difficult to spread the word on city events.

“A constant problem that we have in this city is getting interest and finding whatever medium does reach people,” she said.

Among the potential plans up for discussion at the May 18 workshop will be creating an airport webpage, adding more signage, developing a city newsletter, and engaging more on social media.

The committee plans to hold a Young Eagles event in the near future, which would see pre-vetted pilots fly into Granite Shoals to offer free plane rides to kids ages 8-17.

To register for the Young Eagles event or direct questions to the Granite Shoals Airport Advisory Committee, email gsairport@gmail.com.

The committee also discussed holding a Golden Eagles event during which seniors could be taken on free flights and inviting local remote-controlled aircraft clubs to hold demonstrations at the airport.

The committee also approved the purchase of 30 airstrip markers to define airport boundaries and give landing pilots a safe, clear visual of the runway. The expected cost of the markers is $2,347.70. They would be installed using volunteer labor from committee members. 

Recent improvements to the airport include an emergency services helipad, picnic tables, and portable restrooms.

dakota@thepicayune.com