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Council approves Aldi site plan for old Hastings building

Paris’ newest grocery store could be open for business by the first of the year.

Extra_Logo_Slider_SizeParis City Council members approved a site plan Monday for Aldi’s proposed store in the old Hastings building in Paris Town Center.

“I don’t have an exact date yet,” said Bryan Burger, civil engineer for the project. “I do know they’re ready to submit a request for building permits. They’d start construction in about a month, six weeks, so probably four or five months after that.”

Burger said the renovation will redo the front of the building and parking lot to create an entryway with a few handicap spaces.

“We’ll tear out the sidewalk and the 30-foot driveway and replace it with new concrete,” he said.

In other business, the council approved funding for 10 new hangars at Cox Field. An agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation has the state paying for 90 percent of the project while the city pays for 10 percent, which comes to about $121,000.

That may not be the entire amount, however. Engineering Director Shawn Napier said the FAA will only contribute $600,000 to the project. If construction of the hangars costs more than that, the city has to cover the difference. TxDOT will still pay 90 percent of the hangar access and taxiway.

Councilman A.J. Hashmi expressed some concern about the open-ended nature of the cost.

“We have no idea how much it can go up,” he said.

He also asked how long it might take to recoup the costs from hangar rental fees. At an average cost of $150 a month, the 10 hangars should pay for the project in roughly seven years. The air field currently has a waiting list of 23 people wanting hangars.

“If the water department can collect its fees and be a profitable department, why can the airport not be profitable?” Hashmi said. “There needs to be some way of collecting more funds there.”

As the city looks at an overall development policy, Napier said, the pricing is also being examined in favor of a possible three-tier structure for private, airport businesses and corporate use. The city is also in the process of conducting a study of similar airports to see how Paris compares pricewise.

“You’re spending a lot of taxpayer money, but it only benefits a small portion of Paris,” Councilman Benny Plata said. “Most of the citizens don’t have anything to do with the airport. That’s my take on it. If it can be profitable, it needs to be profitable.”

That is the point of trying to develop the airport, Councilwoman Sue Lancaster replied.

Earlier in the meeting, Hashmi stepped down to the podium for the citizens forum to reiterate points made at the June 23 meeting about attempts to skirt open meeting requirements in Texas law.

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