Income suggestions for asphalt airstrip

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jeff Hathaway, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Jeff Hathaway

    Jeff Hathaway Active Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    Hi everyone,

    I know there are lots of people here with creative money-making ideas, so perhaps there will be some useful suggestions for us.

    On our 53 acre property (purchased <2 years ago) we have a 1500' x 30' asphalt airstrip. It hasn't been used as an airstrip in ~20 years. It is still in reasonably good shape but not good enough for airplanes! Also, houses are now located at the property line not far from the end, so using it as an airstrip is definitely out, even if I could make money somehow that way!

    I had been considering using it as boat/trailer/RV storage space. There are several such places around, but presumably I could find customers as we are located adjacent to a major highway. However, the location is not secure, and chain link fencing would cost ~$5000 just to secure the road accesses at each end. Fencing the southern property boundary parallel to the strip would be so far beyond that I wouldn't even want to contemplate it. So making the space partly secure might be possible but even spending $5K to start such an endeavour seems questionable.

    I considered renting it to driver training schools for skid control, etc. Called a couple but got no interest. Perhaps insurance/liability is too much of a problem.

    Any other ideas for a large hunk of otherwise useless asphalt surrounded by forest, houses, and a highway?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jeff Hathaway
  2. Unless there are already a surplus of them in your area, and assuming a large enough population base, sounds like a great place to rent spaces for a weekend flea/farmers market.

  3. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    These are California examples but maybe will trigger some creative thoughts.

    Asphalt runways (or any very large asphalt paved areas) generate their own micro-climate. In Mojave, California (in the Mojave desert not far from Edwards AFB where the space shuttle sometimes lands), Fresno grape growers often rent extra runways to dry grapes into raisins when there is a bumper crop and all the drying areas in the San Joaquin Valley are filled.

    I knew some guys years ago who bought what seemed like a useless couple of acres of paved parking lot somewhere near Santa Barbara, California (about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles right on the coast) and put greenhouses on them for growing baby's breath starts. All they sold was starts. It used to be that when the strawberry growers in southern California ripped out their strawberries at the end of the season they would plant another cash crop - baby's breath for the wholesale floral trade as a quick summer/fall crop before planting the next season's strawberry plants. Since everything was grown in flats, it didn't matter what the ground was. And the asphalt probably created extra warmth as well -- always a plus when starting seeds/seedlings.

    I know Ontario Canada is a long ways from southern California - but maybe the warmth of that runway has some possibilities.
    Good luck.
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    The vehicle storage idea doesn't sound so bad even with the cost, but you'd have to see what the local potential is. My FIL used to pay $150/season for outside storage, years ago. Give them 20X30 each and you can rent 75 spaces. That's $11250 @$150 if they all rent. I'll bet you need comercial zoning but as it uses an existing strip it might be possible. You can buy mini storage containers and prefab buildings if the storage business interests you. I might even have some contact info for Ontario dealers (which might be closer to you than they were to me) I'll look if you're interested. I thought about it but my comercial zoned land is not ideally sited for a ministorage business.
  5. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    Dont rule out the airstrip, you may be able to rent for repair cost to the strip.
    Dont rule out storage. You dont need to fence the entire area, just start with a small section and grow. The flea market idea someone suggest sounds good. Check with a local car club, anyone want a drag strip? What about a model airplane club? RC car club. U store it faciliy. Find out what franchise cost and loans available for such a venture. The u-store it building are rather cheap, would involve some investment but provide stable income.

    Before I do anything I would check insurance issues. It might be better to subdivde that land off yours and create a seperate owner for that land.
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2003
    I think you are missing the obvious. Its an eigth mile dragstip with another eighth for slowing down. Put up your bleacher concession stands and timing trees ect. You might need to resurface the strip but the bed is already in. Just think how much your neighbors will love you every saturday morning when you have hundreds of high perfomance cars doing smoky burnouts and high speed launches. Contact the NHRRA as soon as you can they will help you work out the details.
  7. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Northern Wisconsin
    Go with the storage facility. This will produce a revenue stream for decades.

    If you are located along a main road, it will fill itself up.

    Around here, they just keep building mini storage facilities.....and they all remain filled up. Typical price for a 10' x 24' storage area is $40 - $50/month. Boats & snowmobiles fill many units.

    People are notorious packrats and can't throw anything away. I know someone that kept some crappy furniture (pressboard entertainment center, etc) that was worth maybe $500 on its best day in storage for 2 years at $50/month.

    An acquaintence of mine recently built a 110 unit mini storage facility in a town of 8000 people. It was filled up within 2 months after the construction was completed and he how has a "waiting list" of people. For him, the storage facility translates into financial security for life.
  8. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2003
    Is there a flight school nearby (preferably a rotor wing school)?

    Radio controlled aircraft club?

    Powered Parachute pilots?
  9. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    if you're located beneath any major airline routes, you might try to promote it as an immense horizontal billboard - of course, you'd have to offer snow removal in order to have it readable
  10. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    I'm with Kirk.Dragstrip!!!

    big rockpile
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    You have an excellent base for going into the humus and topsoil business. You need to make a long windrow of organic material. Contact all the tree trimmers and the nearby towns that collect leaves and limbs. Take these items as well as manures in for windrowing, charging a fee where you can. You will have to turn the windrows as the material decomposes into topsoil. A skidsteer would be a tremendous asset. You will need to be able to bag the product also. Contact all the nearby plant nurseries as a customer. A large dairy near me does this and they sell all thier "product" to a single customer. Three people are making a living from the enterprise.
  12. Big business if your near population,go to the haunted house industry website.10 bucks a person
  13. jessandcody

    jessandcody Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    What about a skate park or hockey rink? This could be used summer and winter! put in some obsticals for skate boarders and roller bladers for summer....then flood it for winter hockey! or maybe tennis courts and basket ball courts. what about "urban" paint ball? or go-cart tracks? or snowmobile races. or mini golf. or rent it out for exibits and events like car shows and ag. expose ext. put up a sound shell for concerts and festivals! or you could turn it into a KOA type RV camping area. Some companies will rent a lot for equipment storage. start a scrap/recycling yard. It all depends on the local population tho.
    what about skeet shoots? maybe a auction lot/house? many cities will rent open lots for puting removed snow from town. logging companies look for lots to store logs. I KNOW!!!!! What about an old fasioned drive it theater!!!! That would be fun to run! Or maybe an impound lot.

    Well it seems that it should have some profitable use at any rate.

    Good luck
  14. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 30, 2002
    North Alabama
    A country drag strip can turn you over a 100,000 a year in profits just off of street rod racers if the local teen young adult population are into drag racing.
  15. pegasuslanding

    pegasuslanding Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    What about ultralight aircraft? My husband flies a "trike" off our property. It looks like a big hanglider, but doesn't make too much noise. Ultralight pilots are always looking for a new airstrip to keep their aircraft. My husband parks his in one of our small outbuildings (they fold up). There are several clubs on the web and magazines to advertise in.
    There are several farms around here who rent out space, but never enough for people who want to fly close to home.