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Airport receives two FAA grants for projects

by Tom LaVenture

Posted on 9/9/2015

The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority formally accepted two Federal Aviation Administration grants for separate projects at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Airport Manager Sam Seafeldt said two FAA grants that will cover 90 percent of the engineering phases for a $37,000 runway taxi lane reconstruction and a $120,000 wetland reduction project were approved by the Airport Authority. Once a $65,000 funding request from the county to cover the airport's portion of the construction phase is secured, the FAA will release $263,000 to complete the taxi lane and $1.3 million to complete the wetlands project.

Both projects also received 5 percent funding from the North Dakota Aeronautics Association.

"I would like to thank the FAA, the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission and Interstate Engineering for helping us move forward with these two projects," Seafeldt said.

The wetlands mitigation project drains 21.5 acres of wetland just northeast of the airport. It will reduce the likelihood of wildlife becoming attracted to the area around the airport, Seafeldt said. This is an FAA priority project, he said, and as part of the mitigation costs the airport will purchase other wetland-protected areas.

"The wetlands attract the birds and that causes a hazard to the aircraft," he said. "We would like to make the airport a safer place and we would like to do it as soon as possible."

Airport Authority Chair Jim Boyd, said at the urgency of the FAA these projects were moved up from the original scheduled work in 2017. The unanticipated work has made it necessary to request the JRAA's 5 percent match funding from the Stutsman County Commission, which he said is not a typical request of the JRAA.

"We will hopefully get the money from the county or we will have to move the project into fiscal year 2017," Boyd said. "It will not be the end of the world if we do but the FAA asked us to move the project into 2016 and we certainly want to oblige them because this is a safety project."

The funding request is still being reviewed, Boyd said. The JRAA has great working relationships with the FAA, the North Dakota Aeronautics Association, the county and city, he said.

The request for proposals for project construction would go out as soon as the county match funding is acquired, Seafeldt said.

"If we are able to move forward then we should have the work done by next summer," he said.

The reconstruction of the airport's west taxi lane is also an FAA priority as it has aged and is at the point of crumbling, Seafeldt said.

"The taxi lane is old and has reached the point of needing to be dug out and repoured," he said. "The grant (approved Tuesday) is for the design portion and we will look at sending bids out and hopefully construction can begin next summer."

Sun reporter Tom LaVenture can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at tlaventure@jamestownsun.com