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Airport terminal project OK'd, but financing on hold

Posted on 4/8/2010

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority approved plans and specifications for a new terminal during its regular meeting Wednesday on a 6-1 vote. The estimated $1.8 million price tag caused Jim Dodd to voice the lone dissenting vote.

"It is not a reflection on the plans or the firms involved," he said. "My vote against this is because it is a very aggressive plan. My wish was to keep it under $1 million. I don't have a conflict with the project, just voicing concerns about the cost and finances."

Finances for the project are still being determined. The Federal Aviation Administration programs are on hold that would finance a large part of the $1.5 million portion of the project that will be paid by the state or the FAA.

"The FAA urged us to prepare plans and specs so we can bid it when they call," said Steve Aldinger, project engineer for Interstate Engineering.

Aldinger said the airport was exploring options for financing the estimated $273,000 the airport would have to come up with in 2011.

"We've approved the plans but they're on hold," said Jim Boyd, board member. "We're currently making $13,000 payments twice a year on a runway project from a few years back. That ends next year so if we can work out financing that stays close to that we have a comfort level with the finances."

The board agreed to hold a special meeting to authorize advertising for bids when the FAA notified them the proper programs were authorized.

In other business the board approved an agreement allowing Jamestown Drag Races to utilize the runway on July 17 and 18 for races. Previously the airport had received a $1 per-ticket royalty for allowing the races. Andrew Schneider, airport manager, said this amounted from $1,000 to $1,500 per year for the eight years the races had operated.

This year's agreement specified a payment of $1,500 to the airport with the racing association once again covering insurance costs.

The board also learned there were 282 boardings at the airport during March, an increase from 230 boardings in March 2009.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at knorman@jamestownsun.com