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Grand Island airport to charge for parking

CNRA has already put up the parking machine where patrons will get tickets to pay for parking (NTV).

For people flying out of the Grand Island airport, there's going to be a change starting next week. The Central Nebraska Regional Airport is going to start charging for parking.

One of the things people like about the Central Nebraska Regional Airport is the free parking, but starting Jan. 11, the CNRA is going to start charging for parking.

As Grand Island continues to grow, so does its airport and officials say it's not cheap.

Mike Olsen, the airport director, said typically they're operations and maintenance budget is funded through Hall County tax dollars, but with a new terminal and nicer amenities, adding parking fees will help without raising tax dollars.

"Keeping the terminal clean, making sure everything is running right. you know, when you go from a 10,000 sq. foot terminal to a 33–almost 34,000 sq. foot terminal, you're going to have more expenses and certainly we have seen more expenses," Olsen said.

Although Olson said he does not want to comment on pricing because it's still being discussed, but there is a sign in the airport entrance which states they'll be charging $3 dollars for the west parking lot and $5 for the east.

CNRA customer Kadie Walnofer said the fee doesn't bother her.

"When we saw the sign we were like, 'oh well, that's shocking' because it's been free parking for so long. And we don't come here often enough to impact our lives too much. And I noticed it's only three dollars and that's not very much in comparison to a lot of other airports and so it's not a terrible deal. Maybe that will give them the opportunity to increase their security and stuff," Walnofer said.

John Mohlman - a Phoenix resident - uses CNRA to visit his family in Hastings, and said he was shocked when he first realized they didn't charge for parking.

He believes this will be a good change.

"I wouldn't mind. It's pretty normal. It's kind of standard for other areas and stuff like that so," he said.

Olson said only 17 percent of people who use CNRA are from Hall County and that the board will be meeting to discuss pricing next week.

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