Red Wing Alternative Energy ProjectsDan’s News & Views Blog: September 2017 « Back to Search Results
In 1970, a news article mentioned the first service hangar to be built at the Red Wing Regional Airport to specifically serve the flying public. The article went on to say, “The decision to go into the maintenance and fuel business on a permanent basis is a sign that private air travel is really coming of age in Red Wing. And certainly it should be. The diversity of the local manufacturing community is such that business air travel is bound to increase.”
In March of 1946, the City of Red Wing purchased 147 acres of flat land above the “The Goose” (Goose Lake) for $7,000. The purchase was conditioned upon approval of the Minnesota Aeronautical Commission in order to operate an airport at this location in Pierce County, Wisconsin. Since that time nearly 70 years ago, the airport has grown and prospered. It has a 5,010 x 100 feet runway, terminal, 44 hangars, and two corporate administration buildings. The airport also provides space for the Ellsworth Fire Department and Civil Air Patrol.
Red Wing Aeroplane Company has a significant presence at the airport with a growing airline charter service of 13 jets with clientele throughout the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and South America. The company has approximately 100 employees, including pilots, mechanics and administrative staff. Wes Converse started the original aircraft maintenance company with his dad, Bob, in 1990. A Star Tribune article in 2011 described their clientele as corporate executives, sports figures, celebrities, as well as many other (average) people. Aeroplane’s latest expansion at the Red Wing Regional Airport includes onsite flight simulators and training programs.
Today, many of the local commercial and industrial businesses use this airport, such as Red Wing Shoe Company, Treasure Island, Xcel Energy and Archer Daniels Midland. Without close access to air travel, the productivity of businesses in and around Red Wing could be impacted in a negative way. This airport is unique in terms of its two-state relationship as a land use and operation that crosses the state line. A concluding sentence in the 1970 news article about Red Wing’s airport said, “A solid airport operation is one more important tool to help keep the local economy thriving.”
A Report Card for the 2040 Red Wing Comprehensive Plan has been completed, including measurements in ten topical areas of life. These topics include: (1) The Economy, (2) Public Safety, (3) Housing, (4) Getting Around, (5) Parks, Land Use and the Built Environment, (6) Physical & Mental Health, (7) Lifelong Learning, (8) Community Connections & Accessible Government, (9) Environmental Resiliency, and (10) Arts & Culture.
I often like to see a comparison chart done when looking at various data points for a community in order to see how much we are similar or different to others. Therefore, I’m showing Red Wing in comparison to Hutchinson, which is a city approximately the same size and the same distance from Minneapolis. As you will see in the table below, some areas of similarity exist between Red Wing and Hutchinson, and other areas show significant differences.
Dan Rogness, Red Wing Community Development Director