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Page 170
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 9
lation and maintenance of water lines within
its district, to build the line for us and let us
reimburse them. (An estimate to build a 10-
inch water line to the City of Austin's speci-
fications ran around $42 per linear foot. The
same line built to the Manville WSC specifi-
cations would cost only $20 a linear foot, or
about 52 percent less.) With this in mind, we
met Tony Graf at Manville WSC to talk over
fire flows and tapping requirements and sep-
tic design and metering requirements.
After several meetings, and a spoonful of
diplomacy, Manville WSC and I agreed to the
following: Manville WSC would design the
water and septic systems. I would hire a con-
tractor (who the Manville WSC Board rec-
ommended) to install the new 10-inch water
line across the airport property and build the
septic system in accordance with their stan-
dards. Once the new line was installed and
inspected, I would then deed ownership of
the line to Manville WSC for their operation
and maintenance. One final bonus to working
directly with the local water district was that
Manville WSC wanted to upgrade their water
lines in the area and agreed to upsize our 10-
inch line to a 16-inch line at no additional cost
to the airport. Not only was the larger line
more structurally stable, but as the surround-
ing residential areas continued to grow and
the demand for water increased, the airport
would still be guaranteed a fire flow of 1,500
gallons per minute for two hours.
Meeting the Governor
In September my wife Sheri and I attended
a political fundraiser and happened to spend
a few minutes chatting with Governor Rick
Perry. Governor Perry was a proponent of
Austin Executive Airport and was also an air-
plane enthusiast. He told several stories--one
involving his time as a pilot with the U.S. Air
Force flying a Lockheed C-130 Hercules--and
he was proud to say that he had some 7,000
hours in the cockpit. I told him I appreciated
all the help we had received from his office--
the work of Secretary of State Phil Wilson
and the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff Kris
Heckman and his transportation policy advi-
sor and others within the economic develop-
ment office--who each in their own way had
opened doors to developing the airport that
might not have opened otherwise.
Days later, and still elated at meeting the
governor, I got a double whammy of bad
news. First, our head engineer and chief
problem solver (a man with many local con-
tacts within the City of Austin planning and
permitting bureaucracy), Bob Nelesen, quit
KSA Engineers (and our project) and moved
out of state. Second, I discovered that even
though Manville WSC had designed the new
water line and would own and maintain it,
Travis County Deputy Fire Marshal Mike
Slaughter still had to sign off on the plan. Ob-
taining that signature meant over-designing
and over-building the line to meet the City's
onerous standards.