Lakeville is in talks to annex all of Airlake Airport, a move that would bring city water and sewer services to the entire airfield and set it up for future growth.
The small airport is currently split between Lakeville and neighboring Eureka Township. Most of Airlake's hangars, and its airstrip, are in the township; a few commercial hangars are in Lakeville. The airport, used mostly by recreational pilots, has more than 33,000 takeoffs and landings a year, according to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).
While the Lakeville hangars are connected to sewer and water lines, those in Eureka Township are not, said Lakeville Community and Economic Development Director David Olson. The township does not have water and sewer service.
After several attempts by the MAC to organize an annexation to Lakeville over the past 20 years, talks among the city, the township and the commission have begun in earnest this year, said Gary Schmidt, the MAC's director of reliever airports.
If the land is annexed, hangar owners would still have to pay if they wished to connect to water and sewage lines, Olson said.
Annexing Eureka Township land is not new to Lakeville, he said. The city annexed its current, small lot of Airlake about a decade ago for similar reasons.
But annexation isn't an easy process, Schmidt said. The groups have to discuss who would garner tax revenue from the hangars and who would be responsible for road work and upkeep associated with the airport.
Eureka Township officials could not be reached for comment.
An annexation would help Lakeville and the MAC, Olson said, adding that the airport — which gives small commercial planes access to Lakeville and its Airlake Industrial Park — is a great "selling point" for the city.
If the airport were fully within Lakeville, it could also better reach goals set out by the MAC, he said. The commission wants to lengthen Airlake's runway by 902 feet to conform to a common jet-owner insurance regulation of a 5,000-foot runway, Schmidt said.
The MAC also would like to build on land that could house about 50 more hangars, he said.
Construction at Airlake doesn't mean there would be a change in the airport's mission, Schmidt said. Even after runway and hangar expansion, the MAC anticipates that the same small, mostly propeller-driven planes would be in Airlake's hangars.
There is no deadline for the annexation talks, Olson said.
Barry Lytton is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.