Construction starts on DeLand Sport Aviation Village

BREAKING GROUND — DeLand’s city manager and all five city commissioners were joined by airport officials in ceremonially breaking ground Oct. 30 for the Sport Aviation Village on the DeLand Municipal Airport. The village will be a year-round commerce center for everything related to sport aviation.

BREAKING GROUND — DeLand’s city manager and all five city commissioners were joined by airport officials in ceremonially breaking ground Oct. 30 for the Sport Aviation Village on the DeLand Municipal Airport. The village will be a year-round commerce center for everything related to sport aviation.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

THE LAYOUT — This drawing shows the different phases in which the Sport Aviation Village complex will be built. Phase 1A and Phase 1B, shown in blue and purple, respectively, will likely be built simultaneously. Phases 2 and 3, shown in green and orange, respectively, are to the north.

THE LAYOUT — This drawing shows the different phases in which the Sport Aviation Village complex will be built. Phase 1A and Phase 1B, shown in blue and purple, respectively, will likely be built simultaneously. Phases 2 and 3, shown in green and orange, respectively, are to the north.

IMAGE COURTESY CITY OF DELAND

DeLand Municipal Airport has long been known worldwide as a skydiving mecca. But in recent years, airport officials have embarked on a mission to also become known as a center for sport aviation.

To that end, city and airport officials broke ground this week for the airport’s Sport Aviation Village, a 40-acre commerce center on the east side of the airport property that will  cater to recreational-aircraft manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and owners.

“This will hopefully provide one-stop shopping … for everything someone in sport aviation could want or need,” said Mayor Bob Apgar before he and other city officials turned shovelfuls of dirt. “Sport aviation is compatible with other sorts of aviation, and we’re very pleased and proud of this project. It’s very cutting-edge for our community.”

Ground was also ceremonially broken Oct. 30 for the DeLand Airport Administrative Building, centrally located on the northwest corner of Flightline Boulevard and Airport Terminal Drive.

The construction kicked off the second annual Sport Aviation Showcase, which is bringing more than 100 aviation vendors to the area to display some of the latest innovations in the sport-aviation industry. The showcase is taking place through Saturday, Nov. 4, on the DeLand Airport campus.

The DeLand Sport Aviation Village will be built in four phases. Once completed, the facilities will aid in economic development as well as the creation of jobs, including training and retention.

Phase 1 will include five to six commercial-use hangars with offices, 21 T-hangars and ample storage hangars. Phases 2 through 4 will have additional T-hangars and storage hangars, and dedicated facilities for educational and training programs.

There will also be a centralized facility for specialized equipment for use in homebuilder activities that involve hazardous materials, such as welding, torch-cutting, soldering, painting and fuel transfers.

Parts of the village could be open by late spring, city officials said.

The start of construction for the administrative building has been five years in the making, said Airport Manager John Eiff.

“The purpose is to be a gathering place for users of the airport,” Eiff said just before the shovels flew. “It will have administrative offices, two meeting rooms, a kitchenette and other amenities.”

It will also be the welcome center for aviators arriving at the airport, noted Mayor Apgar.

“You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and this will do that,” Apgar said at the ceremony. “This is a big step forward for the future of the DeLand airport.”

The administrative building will support tenants of the airfield as well as the airport’s business parks, city officials said. It is expected to be complete by fall 2018.

- Joe Crews, joe@beacononlinenews.com

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