The DeSoto Economic Development Corporation conducted a feasibility study for a heliport operation in DeSoto back in October 2009. It was determined that there was a market for a vertical flight facility in DeSotoâ€™s Eagle Industrial Park, with the possibility of ancillary projects and businesses that would be supported by the new heliport.
As a result, the City of DeSoto in cooperation with the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation applied for a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to fund a vertical flight facility. Recently, TxDot awarded a grant of $500,000 from their Aviation Division for engineering/design and construction of a heliport.
The City of DeSoto conducted a Request for Proposals from Fixed Base Operators (FBO) who would lease the site from the City and operate the heliport. Under a current Letter of Intent, the City has identified Sky Helicopters, Inc. as our fixed base operator. Sky Helicopter will join the City of DeSoto and the Texas Department of Transportation (Aviation Division) as part of the project team who will work together to design and construct the new facility. The design of the facility will occur through the end of the calendar year. The construction of the facility is planned for spring, 2012. The project is funding jointly by the TxDot grant, the City of DeSoto, DeSoto Economic Development Corporation and the Fixed Base Operator.
Construction and operation of a public heliport in the Eagle Industrial Park will enhance the capability for additional economic development. Service providers that operate from a vertical flight facility include public safety, emergency medical services, corporate businesses transport, commuters, emergency preparedness, broadcast news media, utility/pipeline patrol, flight training, sales and service of vertical flight aircraft and personal use.
The heliport will not only benefit the City of DeSoto as an economic and transportation entity but, also contribute to the growth of the aviation industry in the North Central Texas region. The aviation industry, according to a 2005 Texas Department of Transportation impact study, creates over 28,000 jobs, a $1.1 billion payroll and has a total economic impact of over $4.2 billion.
â€œThe vision for a vertical flight facility in DeSoto is obviously long range and there are no guarantees, but we have positioned ourselves for the future as aviation expands to meet the needs of our entire regional transportation system which can never completely meet the demands as our population continues to grow,â€ according to former DeSoto Mayor and past chair of the North Texas Councils of Government Board of Directors, Bobby Waddle. â€œWhen the population in the North Central Texas Region expands from its current 6+ million to 9+ million in the next thirty years, aviation will play a major role in relieving some of the impact of our future mobility and air quality issues,â€ said Waddle.
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