Airport expansion cleared for takeoff

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Carroll County Airport Commission has received the go-ahead to begin the process of acquiring new land for future expansion.

During the commission’s meeting on Dec. 17, airport manager Michael Pfeifer related that he had received an email from Federal Aviation Administration program manager Sara Fields-Pack regarding the commission’s plans.

“I wanted to send this reminder while I'm beginning to gather paperwork for your

entitlement only FY2022 grant,” Fields-Pack wrote. “Please send me any of the land acquisition documents (appraisal, reappraisal, sales agreement, etc.) at any time and keep me apprised of any issues for this land grant.”

Airport engineer Dan Clinton, who was unable to attend the meeting, shared his advice via email, saying, “At least she’s acknowledging that you will get the land acquisition grant.”

The grant — which has not been officially awarded — would allow the commission to purchase several acres of land to build new hangars for lease.

During the commission’s November meeting, Clinton advised the panel to engage the services of a third-party specialist before attempting to acquire additional land, both to ease the process and to make sure any purchase would meet all requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I think when you want to do this, you want to hire — and the FAA will pay for it — a qualified land acquisition and relocation consultant,” Clinton said. “They take you out of dealing with the landowner or anything else like that, and they know how to do it by the book.”

In his email response to Fields-Pack’s message, Clinton advised the commission that once begun, the process could move swiftly, while also providing a cautionary note.

If you select a company in January, you can probably have everything she’s asking about in March,” Clinton wrote. “One thing everyone should know, for this type Grant, the Airport/County will have to front a large part of the costs (to be reimbursed) before they get the final Grant.”

Clinton also provided the commission with preliminary plans for a 9,900-square-foot community hangar to be constructed at the airport. Commissioners agreed that constructing a single larger hangar with multiple spaces for lease would be a better use of funds than constructing a number of individual hangars.

“I think that would give us the most bang of our buck,” said chair Chase Tresler.

In other business, the commission approved the monthly financial reports, reviewed a $720.53 deposit paid to Carroll Electric for installation of a power pole and meter box and the final bill for the work, which came to $4,885.45, and approved final invoices from Grimes Consulting Engineers and Precise Solar Power regarding apron rehabilitation and lighting improvements, which came to $21,725 and $32,535, respectively.

During the meeting, Pfeifer also delivered his monthly manager’s report, which included a review of the Third Saturday Fly-In for November.

According to Pfeifer, the airport hosted 10 aircraft and 50 attendees for the luncheon. Visitors were served beans and ham hocks, which Pfeifer said were gone in 45 minutes.

“No one left hungry,” he said, thanking volunteers Mary Ellen Anderson, Alex Thurocy and Susan Pfeifer. Proceeds from the fly-in cleared $269.

In addition, Pfeifer related that the Fayetteville Chapter 732 of the Experimental Aircraft Association met at the airport for a potluck on Dec. 21, their first in more than a year.

The airport also took delivery of 7,915 gallons of aviation fuel on Nov. 22 for a price of $30,171.19. Pump prices were set at $4.88 per gallon.

Pfeifer also reported to the commission that he had completed the FAA Based Aircraft Inventory of registered aircraft currently at the Carroll County Airport, ending with a final count of 47. The FAA uses the biyearly inventory to determine what federal monies will be available to an airport.

“I was scratching trying to make 50,” Pfeifer said.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for noon, Friday, Jan. 21, at the airport.

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