Airport plans for future expansion


NEW KNOXVILLE – New expansion is on the horizon at the Neil Armstrong Airport, according to reports presented during the Auglaize County Airport Authority meeting Tuesday night. In addition, the airport manager was given permission to pursue a contract for a new tractor.

Jason Clearwaters of BF&S, the ACAA’s consulting firm, reported to the ACAA on the potential expansion of the Neil Armstrong Airport.

Clearwaters said the FAA would most likely change the status of the airport from B to C, which will allow the facility to allow take offs and landings for larger planes. In preparation of that, the airport would have to increase safety zones and setbacks. He said the FAA would provide a list of priorities that would be listed in their capital improvement plans. They would also pay for the projects as they can.

The consultant also said that he had received approval from the Auglaize County Commissioners to begin updating the master plan, a process that 14 to 16 months to complete. He said in the next few weeks he will present a proposal to the ACAA and the commissioners to approve.

As a result, he said the fence project will be put on hold until the master plan is complete as the setbacks may be changed to accommodate becoming a category C airport.

New money is coming to the airport. Clearwaters said they would be supplying documentation to apply for the final $69,000 in CARES funding. Another project, apron repair, is recommended the work be broken into six phases. It is planned to begin seeking bids in March 2022, with work starting in mid-June. The airport’s capital improvement project will be finalized for ACAA approval in December.

Airport Manager Ted Bergstrom received ACAA approval to pursue a contract to buy a new John Deer 6110M cab tractor through a state purchasing website. The price is estimated to be $94,702 after the 28% government discount. A John Deer 620R standard form load would also be purchased at a cost of $10,473 after the government discount for a total of $105,176.16. Bergstrom said they would use the Cares Act funding to pay for the equipment.

Trade in value of the 1992 tractor and sweeper would be $21,000.

Bergstrom said a current airport tenant, Paul Lebanc, will be awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of flight without a single incident or violation. He will be honored with an FAA award ceremony in January 2022.

Repairs on the Hanger E infrared heating system will be performed by contractor R&M Heating, They had the low bid of $3,455. The other bidder was New Knoxville Supply which bid $6,103.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

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