REXBURG, Idaho - Rexburg City Council took a decisive step towards relocating Rexburg-Madison County Airport on Wednesday.
The council voted unanimously to hire a third-party firm to help decide on a possible new location for the airport.
"We are committed to the idea of an airport in a different place," said Rexburg Mayor Richard Woodland.
City leaders said after more than 50 years in its current location, the airport is no longer big enough to meet the needs of a growing city.
"We have a short runway--shorter than we need for some of the business jets that would come in," said Woodland.
At its current location, the airport is surrounded by residential areas and protected wetlands, and officials say there's little room to expand.
"We've grown out around the airport," said Councilman Jerry Merrill. "It used to be out really on the edge of town, and now it's kind of right in the middle of town."
Officials said the current layout has been a nightmare for pilots as they struggle to avoid potential tragedies.
"Worrying about being able to clear, or if something happened and they lost power and they had to land in the middle of a residential area, that's never a good prospect," said Merrill.
But deciding on a new location for the airport is proving difficult.
"It could be south of town, it could be north of town. It could even be east or west of town," said Woodland.
Officials expect the company they hired to give them a better idea.
"Give us an idea of how far away we want to be, what kind of areas we're looking at--all that kind of thing, and that's why we want to rely on some experts that look at a lot more things than we really know," said Merrill.
The city will pay the company with money that's already been allocated to expand the existing airport.