County gets $664K for airport work

Allen County received a grant from the state to construct an additional, parallel taxiway at the airport.


Local News

March 13, 2024 - 3:14 PM

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

Public Works Director Mitch Garner promised Allen County commissioners he’d have good news to share Tuesday morning, and he delivered. Garner revealed the Allen County Airport will receive an injection of $664,500 from state coffers. The funding will come in two sums. 

“The $57,000 is for the design and drawings,” of a drainage and earthwork project for a parallel taxiway, said Garner.

The second sum of $607,500 will be for the construction of the additional taxiway. “The parallel taxiway will connect the taxiway and the runway. This will help so the pilots don’t have to taxi so far down, or go to the end, just to get off of the runway.” 

He noted that the parallel taxiway will be more efficient for the pilots in terms of time and fuel.

Allen County Airport is one of 37 airports to receive funding via the Kansas Airport Improvement Program (KAIP). Gov. Laura Kelly announced last week that 58 projects were selected to receive a total of $14.3 million through the program. 

“Improvements made to our aviation infrastructure are vital to local economies, even in rural parts of Kansas,” Kelly said. “These enhancements ensure that no matter where they are in the state, businesses and communities have every opportunity to grow and prosper.”

Local matching funds are required, though the amount varies depending on the project. This raises the KAIP project value to more than $34 million. Allen County will need to do a 5% match on the $57,000 and a 10% match on the $607,500 for a total of $63,600.

“That’s a pretty good deal,” he said. The county’s match will come out of the airport fund. “This is for next year, but we’ll likely start on the bidding and contract stuff after July,” Garner added.

The Kansas Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation received 135 applications seeking more than $84 million for projects in this round of KAIP grants. The selected projects focus on pavement preservation, businesses, and air ambulance accessibility.

Public Works Director Mitch Garner shares news with the Allen County commissioners Tuesday morning of a grant awarded to the county airport’s parallel taxiway project. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

Commissioner Jerry Daniels noted the state’s aviation fund used to be $5 million annually to improve airports. “This year, the legislature increased that to $15 million,” he said.

Even with the budget tripled, Daniels lamented its limitations.

“For 130 airports in the state, that doesn’t go very far.”

IN OTHER NEWS, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Michael Burnett gave the commissioners an update on EMS vehicle repairs. 

“The 2019 truck was in the shop twice,” he noted. “The first time, it was the fuel module. The second time, we had to have it towed because it wouldn’t start — that turned out to be the power wire going to the fuel pump.” Another truck is currently at Olathe Ford, he added, because the hydraulic ride system is not working. The estimate for the new part is $3,300 and they are currently waiting on the part to arrive.

• Sheriff Bryan Murphy said the jail’s HVAC update has been completed for $106,133. Murphy noted that $70,000 of the bill can be covered through the jail board and inmate trust fund. This will leave $36,133 for the county to pay. He added that they also replaced the water softening system in the jail, but this will come entirely out of the jail board and inmate trust account.