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Airport authority readies for expansion



Published: Mon, November 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The runway project will open the airport to corporate aircraft, which could bring economic development.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

EAST LIVERPOOL -- The Columbiana County Airport Authority has been in a holding pattern for years in its effort to land a runway extension.

But things now appear in place for the panel to finally secure the key improvement, which will allow corporate jets to use the Madison Township facility.

Being able to accommodate corporate aircraft will boost county development efforts, said John Sayle, airport authority chairman and president of Hall China Co., East Liverpool.

Company jets are "how corporate America travels" in the 21st century, Sayle pointed out.

Details of plan: The airport has spent the last several years preparing for the 500-foot runway extension necessary to allow the airport to handle corporate aircraft. The extension will make the runway 4,007 feet long.

To fund the estimated $500,000 extension, airport officials are banking on the promise of about $450,000 in federal funding in the next three years, plus additional state and federal grants.

As long as the federal money remains available, groundbreaking on the extension could occur in summer 2002, Sayle said.

It will take about four months to finish the project, which also will entail installing new runway lighting and renovated taxi-ways.

While preparing for the runway extension, the airport authority also has begun other improvements.

Hangar: Work will start early in 2002 on a 10-space, 10,000-square-foot hangar.

The estimated $240,000 cost of the structure is being funded with a 15-year bank loan that will be paid off by renting hangar spaces for about $150 per month.

It will take about eight weeks to complete the hangar and construct taxi-ways leading to it.

Once the project's done, the airport will have two hangars capable of storing 35 aircraft.

In July, the airport succeeded in securing zoning that protects the airspace over and surrounding the 142-acre facility.

The zoning would prevent erection of any tall structures, such as cell phone towers, that could interfere with airport operations.

Through May, there have been 31,156 landings and takeoffs at the airport.

Once the runway is extended, the new hangar is built and other improvements are completed, the county will have "an airport that will be in good shape to carry the county into the future," Sayle said.

leigh@vindy.com




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