February 11, 2015 Edition

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WR Airport Commission
to seek $400,000 grant

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission voted to apply for a second Arkansas Department of Aeronautics grant at its Monday meeting. Chair Don Cavenaugh said the revenue the airport will receive from retaining its military fuel contract allows them to be able to afford a $400,000 grant in addition to the $200,000 already approved.

For the $400,000 grant, the airport would have to provide 20 percent of whatever is spent on the project as opposed to the $200,000 grant, which is only 10 percent. However, the extra grant would allow for more improvements needed to maintain the airport as well as upgrade out-of-compliance signage and runway striping.

Cavenaugh said it is one of his goals as chair to apply for these two grants every year as they make it possible for the airport to do $600,000 in repairs at a cost of only $100,000 to the airport. He said overall the airport is in compliance, but these grants would allow for maintenance, updates and general improvements needed for the airport to remain competitive.

The $400,000 grant will be used to pay for the new signs and striping, as well as to purchase four windsocks and a PAPI approach light, which will aid in nighttime landings. Work to be done on the tetrahedron, a wind direction indicator from the 1940s, will be added as a "deductive alternate," which can be removed if its bid puts the total over $400,000.

The $200,000 grant will be used to update the airport's fuel farm, which houses the airport's on-site fuel supply, and bring it up to military required standards.

Part of the requirements of these grants is for the airport to cover all the expenses up front and the ADA will reimburse the airport after the project is complete. To accommodate the project costs, the commission voted to allow Cavenaugh to pursue options in acquiring a $400,000 line of credit for the airport to pay for the up front costs.

In other business:

  • Cavenaugh informed the commission that a letter had been received from the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce requesting a land swap of 52 acres of property located on the airport site. The acreage the Chamber wants to swap is located near a runway, which lowers its chances for commercial growth. Cavenaugh said he believes the land swap would be beneficial for both parties because the Chamber could develop in a different area at the airport and the land around the runway would be protected. No action was taken.

  • Airport Manager Michelle Anthony shared some quotes for painting the airport terminal building, as well as stripping and waxing the floors. Several other projects were discussed, and Cavenaugh said they will proceed to get as much done to the building as possible while limiting spending to $2,500.

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