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City sets auction for land lease at airport

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Elko Regional Airport

Elko Regional Airport terminal

ELKO – A lease for a parcel of land at Elko Regional Airport will be offered at auction after REACH Air Medical Services petitioned the city to make the 2.26-acre site available.

The council approved CBRE of Reno’s professional appraisal that puts the property value at $29,558 per year, or 30 cents per square foot. The auction will be held at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

The parcel is 98,536 square feet, according to Airport Manager Jim Foster.

Tom Liebman, regional manager for REACH, said the company is interested in leasing the land as part of its plan to build a $1 million super base for its fixed wing and rotary wing air ambulances. The project will include a hangar and crew quarters.

“We’re moving forward with our plan,” he said.

Liebman said REACH currently has the company’s fixed wing and helicopter assets, hangars, and crew quarters at two separate locations at the Elko airport.

The final bid at auction for the 20-year lease could be higher that the appraised value of the site, which is described as a pad north of the runway within the secure airport perimeter.

REACH responds to accidents and medical emergencies throughout Elko County.

The company was in competition with MedX AirOne in February in an auction for another airport location, on 1.13 acres. MedX won the lease with a $16,000 bid for the annual rent.

REACH Air Medical Services bid as high as $15,600 before dropping out in the auction for that site adjacent to Aspen Way and Thomas Gallagher Way. That site was appraised at $13,379, which was the minimum bid.

Elko County Commissioners in May extended REACH Air Medical Services’ franchise agreement with the county for two years rather than the usual seven years to allow for a newly worded agreement, competition for a franchise, or a decision to end the franchise at the end of those two years.

REACH Air contended at the time that without the franchise, the company would not have a fair playing field because MedX already has a contract with Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital to transport patients to larger hospitals for health care.

Elko City Manager Curtis Calder urged commissioners to renew the franchise, pointing out that the city owns Elko Regional Airport and counts on revenue from leases, fees, and fuel to ease the amount the city must subsidize to keep the airport operating.

He said at that time REACH has been at the airport many years, employs 20-25 people and is “considered one of our major tenants.”

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