First Glimpse at Proposals For Future Use of Old Airport Hangar

Old Airport Hanger RFP Boulder City, Nevada

This is exciting! Next Wednesday, August 28th the Boulder City Historic Preservation Committee will review three proposals that have been submitted for possible future use of the old Airport Hangar and Bullock Field. All are welcome to attend the meeting at 7:00 pm at City Hall.

In March, the City advertised and requested any interested parties should submit proposals for the spot. There’s been lots of discussion about the historical value of the hanger, since it was built in 1940 and served as our city’s airport for some fifty years, until it closed in 1990.

What could, or should, this space become? What is its future best use? How do we give a nod to our history and still make something that we as residents find useful, interesting or fun? Also, how would it be paid for, and by who?

We’ve got the actual proposals for you to look at below, that you can download in .pdf form and take a look at for yourselves. All carry some unique points of view, suggested uses and are very thoughtful in their scope and presentation.

Remember though, this is conceptual right now. All three representatives that we spoke to say they are flexible – this isn’t nuts and bolts time – this is broad strokes and a birds’ eye view – so think BIG PICTURE. The three current proposals are:

  1. Bullock Field Coalition
  2. Dandy Horse Ranch
  3. Litjens Commercial

When we spoke to Michael Mays, the Community Development Director, he told us, “right now, we’re simply looking for input and feedback from the community, the Historic Preservation Committee and the City Council”. The City Council will be the next step after next Wednesday’s meeting, and we’ll try to let you know when that date is set for the Council to review.

A few commonalities:

  • All of the proposals are for leasing the land – the area and building are NOT for sale
  • All three talk about restoring the existing hangar and honoring its historic place in our community
  • All three incorporate some form of camping or RV use of the surrounding area
  • Two of them create an event venue
  • Two of them address some form of affordable housing
  • Two of them create definitive green spaces around the area
  • Two of them also stretch (gradually over planned phases of execution) all the way to Adams Avenue

We spoke first with Grant Turner, who is one of the partners in the Dandy Horse Ranch project. He said, “We’ve got one prime directive, it’s about what’s best for Boulder City. Right now it’s all conceptual and we’re very flexible, wanting to use the area in the coolest most creative way possible. This is all about the big picture, not just profit margin. We don’t need to turn into Henderson.”

Dandy Horse is one of the plans that incorporates an event venue into the space. This current proposal has three phases, that when you take a look phase 1, it creates an event venue, a motor coach resort, modern mobile housing and a bike path and green space. Phases 2 and 3 expand on some of these themes and introduce new ones.

Next we talked with Rob Martin, who is part of the Bullock Field Coalition. He said, “To me, if we get approved for this, it could essentially be the keystone to Boulder City. This would be nicer than anything else currently in Boulder City. It would be both an event center, with the natural amphitheater as the strongest natural feature. It could be a really good thing for Boulder City.”

In this proposal, they use the old Hangar as a small ice rink for part of the space. Something we learned in speaking with him is that you can easily cover the ice rink floor for other uses. This plan also contains intentional green spaces, multi-family and senior housing, and an RV park and Airstream Hotel.

Lastly, I spoke with Stuart Litjens, who many of you know as the owner of Boulder Boats. He has another proposal that is more commercial in nature, but still accomplishes some good goals for Boulder City.

Mr. Litjens still owns the adjacent property, currently holding Boulder City RV. They propose restoring the hangar, doing some nice plaques and representation of its history, and also moving Boulder City RV’s repair facility into this space. When you think about that, there’s a sort of symmetry here, as the hangar was once a working facility in the past.

Beyond that however, they are looking to solve some of our community’s ongoing needs (or problems) for RV and boat/toy storage, and their proposal is looking to accomplish that with the creation of a ‘below retail’ storage space, an RV camping area with hookups, etc., as well as a higher end covered RV storage.

He tells us, “There has always been a heated debate on street RV/boat/toy parking on our streets in front of residences. This would solve that issue in that it could provide a below retail, subsidized space for residents, in exchange for not parking on the streets. Commemorate the hanger, preserve it, it will look like an airplane hanger, not a service facility. This isn’t about making as much money off the space, it’s giving a nod to the history, and solving some problems and needs for the community with the area.”

We really encourage everyone to download and read through these proposals. Let’s talk – really talk – about what starts to make sense. All of these ideas have merit, and all have some challenges.

My only personal thoughts are to observe which way the residents and City Council opinions will blow. Let’s see if we live in a world where possibilities can be productively explored, and our town experience a ‘move forward’ and ‘can do’ attitude, as opposed to ‘no’ and ‘let’s wait and see’.

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