Manhattan Regional Airport officials want to move forward with a parking lot improvement project that would lead to a parking fee.

The Manhattan City Commission will consider Tuesday allowing the airport to request bids on the parking lot project.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

In February 2018, the commission approved a $4.5 million improvement project would add more than 150 paved parking spots. The airport currently has more than 700 parking spots.

The plan called for phasing with an initial $3.28 million proposal for parking improvements, which would include additional paved parking, improved lighting and repaired asphalt.

In order to pay for the project’s debt, airport officials have suggested adding a parking fee at the airport.

The parking lot at the airport is currently free.

The Airport Advisory Board suggested making parking free for the first hour and $1 per hour for hours 2 through 4 with a maximum daily rate of $5. The board also expressed its desire for officials to implement the parking fee immediately after the project is completed.

A 10-year bond for the project would require an annual payment of $648,000. In a parking revenue study, Walker Consultants estimated that a $5 daily fee would generate the money needed for a 10-year bond.

The commission will also consider creating an ordinance to establish local aesthetic standards for the installation of small cell infrastructure in the city’s rights-of-way.

Small cell towers, approximately 30 feet tall, are used to boost wireless service for mobile devices. They are used by multiple cell phone providers.

Manhattan currently has 47 small cell towers in the city, some using existing poles and others using new poles.

The ordinance under consideration would place an official standard on new poles including location, maintenance and repair, and aesthetics. Wood poles would only be permitted in alleys; any other pole must be hollow metal, fiberglass or use a similar composite material.

The ordinance would call for poles to get painted green to minimize glare and visibility. However, poles in downtown or Aggieville must match the established character of the district, so the color scheme would be different.