Dollars pour in for airport upgrades

The county has invested $5.6 million at the airport this year, but only $170,000 has come from county funds thanks to state and federal grants. Commissioners agreed to upgrade lighting for the runway and taxiway next year, and signed an agreement to partner with the City of Iola for sewer improvements.

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September 14, 2022 - 2:10 PM

The Allen County Regional Airport. Register file photo

Over the course of about one year, Allen County has approved $5.6 million worth of investments at the Allen County Regional Airport.

Only about $170,000 of that money came directly from county funds. The vast majority will be paid for using state and federal grants, and in particular about $1 million in relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

The ultimate goal is to develop the airport as an industrial park, attracting companies to build facilities and move operations there. Improving infrastructure is the first step, and though $5.6 million is a lot of money, it’s just a start. A comprehensive engineering report estimated it will cost two to three times more than that ($12 to $15 million) to develop water, sewer, electrical, gas, roads and internet services.

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