By Kay Braddock
After seeking a government grant to replace aging snow removal equipment, the Prairie County Airport Authority quickly discovered the need for a new building.
“The government told us that they would not finance anything unless we had a building to put it in,” Willis Bartholomay, chairman of the airport authority, explained.
That development instigated the board’s decision to begin accepting bids for a storage building. The deadline for bids was May 20.
The 43-by-50-foot pre-engineered and shop fabricated steel structure will house a snow blower, snowplow and still have enough room for a tractor, according to Bartholomay. Currently the airport’s snowplow is housed in Bartholomay’s hangar, while the snow blower sits outside.
Historically the airport’s priority for snow removal has been low, Bartholomay explained, noting much of the work has been done on a volunteer basis.
“Come get your snow shovels and dig out the runway lights,” Batholomay said was once the typical call most board members would receive in the past. But with Prairie Community Hospital’s designation as a 24-hour emergency facility the need for keeping the runway clear for emergency flights increased.
Estimated costs to build the structure are around $200,000, according to Bartholomay. Ninety percent of that is to be funded through a federal aviation grant, 5 percent funded through the state aeronautical division, leaving only 5 percent remaining for the county.
Last week the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $126,155 to the Terry airport for building construction.
The storage structure will be located on the east side of Charles Monaghan’s hangar and will include two overhead doors and a walk-in door.
Once the structure is completed the airport authority will begin looking into replacing the current snow removal equipment.
Other airport authority members include: Monaghan, Dale Galland, Dwight Tague and Darryl Pisk.
Published May 27, 2009