Airport project nears milestone

A sewage lift station that will be part of infrastructure improvements at Allen County Regional Airport is expected to be completed by Dec. 27.


Local News

May 21, 2024 - 2:57 PM

The Allen County Regional Airport will get $664,500 in grant funds for an additional taxiway. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

A new industrial park adjacent to Allen County Airport came “one step closer,” said Commissioner Jerry Daniels, with the county commission’s approval Tuesday of necessary accommodations for the sewer line connecting the complex to Iola’s sewer lagoon system.

The commissioners approved adding a sewage lift station that “will get us fully functional,” said Thaniel Monaco of BG Consultants, the engineering firm overseeing the project.

The completion date was set for Dec. 27.

Commissioners awarded the project to Nowak Construction for $1.97 million following a special executive session May 2. The approval was “pending counselor’s review and approval,” added Commissioner Bruce Symes. 

The change order for the lift stations comes at a cost of $628,183.20, which brings the project’s total to just over $2.6 million. The county’s budget for the project is $2,401,323 out of ARPA and BASE grant funds, with an additional $200,000 out of PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) funds, pending review from the county’s counselor. 

The addition of the change order meets the county’s budget, exactly.

IN OTHER NEWS, Loren Korte and Terry Sparks, with the Allen County Regional Hospital board, updated commissioners on the challenges they face.

“Reimbursement in healthcare is very difficult,” he said. “It’s like chasing a moving target. One day you can make money here, and the next day you can’t. Things have been challenging.” 

On the positive side, Sparks noted the merger of BJC Health System of St. Louis and St. Luke’s Health System of Kansas City created a $10 billion a year revenue health system, “which is in the top 15 or 20 in the country,” he said. 

“We are now linked to a system that is very strong.” He added there are about 44,000 employees in the new network and 24 hospitals, Allen County included.

Korte said healthcare is like any other business. 

“You either get big, or you’re out,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling John Deere tractors or whatever you’re doing. The hospital is open and that’s great. They’re bringing in more specialists to save some trips to Kansas City. It’s been good.”