"We're trying to brand our airport as more of a workforce pipeline," Economic Development Director Belinda Kirkegard said.
The city had posted a request for letters of interest (RFLOI) in August for consulting firms to implement the airport's economic development plan, completed in 2014, and to market multiple new pad-ready sites on the airport property.
Airport Director Terry Lloyd told GrowthSpotter he would spend the weekend reviewing the packages before distributing them to the bid evaluation team. Qualified firms will be contacted by Nov. 17 and invited to submit formal proposals.
"We're looking forward to partnering with a company as we market and develop the unique opportunities that exist at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport in our AeroVista Park and Business Airpark," he said.
Two major road projects servicing the airport have generated more development opportunities on and around the property.
Earlier this year the city extended Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Dyer Boulevard, where it connects via traffic circle to the airport's main entrance and the new $ 2 million administrative building, now under construction and expected to open in December.
The MLK extension provides motorists a direct route from downtown Kissimmee to the airport without having to drive on US 192. It also opens up 30 acres of airport property for new development of aviation and non-aviation related uses.
In addition, the county's $30 million realignment of Hoagland Boulevard on the airport's western boundary improves access to the Business Airpark, which includes up to 10 pad-ready sites that can accommodate aviation-related industries that need their own dedicated hangars.
"We have vacant land on Hoagland, but it has always been a two-lane rural road so it was a detriment to anyone who wanted to do anything there," Lloyd said. "The other thing the Hoagland project does is it will allow us to extend our shortest runway by a few hundred feet."
The city also is seeking $5 million from the Federal Aviation Authority for a new control tower. Lloyd said the new tower would be taller and bring the facility up to current FAA standards. If the funding is approved, the federal government would pay 90 percent and the Florida Department of Transportation would pay 5 percent, leaving the city to come up with a 5-percent match.
"But 5 percent of $5 million is still a lot of money," he said.