The future of the Colorado Springs Airport will be the focus of a special Community Conversations at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the airport's East Terminal Unit.

The event, sponsored by The Gazette and the nonprofit Food for Thought, is titled "Destination Colorado Springs: Our airport's future" and will feature a panel of experts and an opportunity for attendees to discuss the airport. The forum will focus on efforts by the airport and a task force appointed by Mayor Steve Bach to provide more flights to more cities at lower fares. The Gazette will feature a project story on airport issues Nov. 17.

The Community Conversations will be free and open to the public. Attendees may park for free in the airport's short-term parking, but must present parking tickets at the event to be validated.

The Community Conversations will be the third held by The Gazette. Previous forums at Colorado College focused on homeless issues and downtown. The Community Conversations are intended to address larger and often divisive issues that affect the community. As part of the forums, Food for Thought will expand the dialogue and allow residents to offer possible solutions through small-group discussions. The Gazette has been regularly presenting opposing opinions and readers' views on issues in its weekly "Community Conversations" on the Op/Ed page.

The airport panel will be moderated by Katie Carrol, The Gazette's director of communications and public relations. Panelists will include:

- Dan Gallagher, the airport's interim director

- Damon Hylton, president of The Quotient Group, the airport's marketing consultant

- Steve Bartolin, a member of the city's Air Service Task Force and president of Broadmoor Hotel Inc.

- Chris Thornton, chairman of the Colorado Springs Airport Advisory Commission

- Kathy Boe, CEO of local defense information technology contractor Boecore Inc. and a frequent flier.

The panel discussion will be 6 to 7:15 p.m., followed by the small-group discussions from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. and led by Food for Thought.


Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman