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Airport receives city, county grants for 2018 projects

Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport file photo.

Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport has received a $250,000 grant from the City of Dickinson and a $140,000 grant from Stark Development Corporation for its 2018 projects.

The funds will be used as part of a local share commitment for construction of a new taxiway, Kelly Braun, airport manager, said at Tuesday's airport board meeting.

Braun also hopes to receive another $435,000 from Stark County Commissioners.

From the Stark Development grant, $120,000 will go toward land acquisition and another $20,000 for wetland mitigation.

"Our airport is essential for our region," Ryan Jilek, Stark Development executive vice president, said. "We need to make sure we do whatever we can to keep that flow of people coming and going through our airport."

The expansion is necessary to accommodate the increasing size of commercial planes.

"Our current runway is not suitable for that, so we need to make amends for that," Jilek said. "To be able to extent that runway, they had to be able to purchase some land around there. Our portion from Stark Development was used to help leverage funds from both the (Federal Aviation Administration) and the aeronautics commission."

The airport is seeking 200 acres of land adjacent to the airport from landowners Jeffrey Kuhn and Dale Kostelecky, Braun said, with 193 acres coming from Kuhn's land.

Land acquisition services are a necessary first step for the project, Braun said.

"It's to get all of the pre-work done," he said, "to be able to hire the appraiser, to get the sum of the legal work done, before we write the check for the land."

Other neighboring landowners were informed about the coming project, Braun said.

"We reached out to all the landowners when we were going through the land-use plan," he said. "All the affected landowners that were close, we actually sent out letters to each and every one of them, instead of just doing a public notice."

The City of Dickinson supports the project, said city administrator Shawn Kessel.

"Historically, we have been very supportive of the airport and see its operations as essential infrastructure," Kessel said. "There are many businesses that operate in Dickinson due, in part, to the transportation opportunities available to them, including easy access to the interstate and quality air travel."

He added, "The runway expansion will allow for larger aircraft to access Dickinson airport and keep us current with airline trends towards larger, more efficient aircraft."

The city has previously supported the airport by, for example, providing a low interest loan for expanding its parking area, Kessel said.

Braun said he will bring to the airport board in February a formal "scope of work" for services with KLJ Engineering & Planning Services of Dickinson for land acquisition.