About $953,000 in taxiway improvements at the Lorain County Regional Airport just north of Oberlin in New Russia Township were cleared for takeoff by the Lorain County Commissioners at their March 25 meeting.
Work on the 500-foot long, 100-foot wide taxiway is expected to begin in the late summer, early fall, or next year at the latest, said Doug McConnell, airport manager.
A federal taxpayer grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will cover 9o percent of the cost and a state grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation will pay five percent, said Karen Davis, county facilities management director, after the meeting.
County taxpayers will pay the remainder, which is $46,784.
The taxiway work follows the approximately $1.2 million replacement of the airport’s ramp in September. Federal money paid for 90 percent of the replacement with county taxpayers covering the rest.
The county sought about $3 million in federal money for improvements but was unable to obtain it due to federal budget cuts, Jim Cordes, county administrator, told commissioners.
He said the county will continue to lobby for more money for the airport. “There’s a lot of need, but only a little bit of money,” Cordes said.
Nonetheless, McConnell, who wasn’t at the meeting, said the work will make the airport safer and encourage more flight activity.
Improvements since 2004 include rehabilitation of the runway and installation of a 10-foot high fence around the airport. Other improvements include installation of a de-icing facility, additional lighting, and extension of the tarmac.
The 1,120-acre airport, which opened in the 1960s, averages 15,000 to 20,000 takeoffs and landings annually. McConnell said activity has been increasing since the end of the 18-month Great Recession, which officially ended in June of 2009.
He credited the improved economy and lower jet fuel costs for the surge.
“It’s getting better year after year,” said McConnell, who is also president of MRK Aviation, which manages the airport.
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune County commissioners have approved spending $953K for taxiway improvements at the Lorain County Regional Airport.