Pierce County considers Narrows Airport purchase

Pierce County’s plan to buy the Tacoma Narrows Airport and Madrona Links Golf Course from the City of Tacoma will be on the agenda for an in-district County Council meeting Sept. 30 on the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

The District 7 meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in Hangar 1108 of the airport, which is located at 1202 26th Ave. N.W. It will be in lieu of the council’s regular 3 p.m. Tuesday meeting; council rules call for at least one evening meeting a year to be held in each of the seven council districts.

“This County Council has sought to encourage economic development and protect open space, and this purchase does both,” said Council Chair Terry Lee, whose Council District 7 includes the Gig Harbor Peninsula. “The airport is an international gateway that will bring more business opportunities to the peninsula and the rest of our county, and the golf course is a jewel that should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Under the proposed agreement, Pierce County and the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District would jointly purchase the 567-acre airport and 18-hole golf course from Tacoma for $5 million. Of the county’s $3 million share, $2 million will come from the sale of the Elk Plain Road Shop property in Graham, and the other $1 million is real estate excise taxes set aside in the 2008 budget.

If the park district defaults on its payments, the county will cover the difference and assume sole ownership of the property. County Public Works and Utilities staff believe they can operate Tacoma Narrows Airport at a profit the first year by sharing equipment with Thun Field, Pierce County’s current airport on South Hill.

Before the proposal advances to the full council, the Rules and Operations Committee will consider it at its Sept. 22 meeting at 11 a.m. in the Council Chambers (930 Tacoma Ave. S., Room 1045, Tacoma). Visit the council Web site for more information.