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New grant money lands at Sawyer International

More than $800,000 in FAA cash earmarked for runway rehab, perimeter fencing

June 8, 2009
By KIM HOYUM Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE -Sawyer International Airport has received another allotment of funding from the Federal Aviation Administration, as more than $800,000 was awarded to make improvements at the airport.

The offices of U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced the funding Wednesday, which brings the total amount of grants from the federal government to more than $4 million in 2009.

"Not including state or local funding, I think the total is about $4.3 million right now," said Airport Manager Keith Kaspari.

Article Photos

Sawyer International Airport is the recipient of more than $800,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant funding will be used for runway improvements, fencing and other changes. (Journal file photo)

He added the grants were unexpected, as the airport has already received some funding for different projects through the Airport Improvement Program from the FAA, as part of the federal stimulus package.

"We were not expecting part B funds to come through at all for the year 2009," he said. Part B is the second round of grants from the FAA for the year.

The funding announced Wednesday consists of $821,073, to be used for rehabilitation of a runway, repairs on three taxiways, and replacing perimeter fencing.

Kaspari said the improvements are a continuation of a project begun in 2007, and this is the third phase of four.

Some of the concrete slabs paving the runway will be renovated - 44 of them - and there are 66 smaller repairs to be made on the taxiways, Kaspari said.

"In addition to that is the replacement and relocation of about 1,700 feet of fencing around the runways," he said.

The fencing needs to be moved because at its current location, winter snow drifts up to a point where wildlife such as deer can get over the fence and cause a safety hazard on the runway, Kaspari explained.

The projects are now in the bidding process, which is done through the Michigan Department of Transportation, he said. Once they are approved, airport officials hope to start the projects by the end of September.

They will follow several other airport improvements over the summer.

A parking toll system and upgrades to the airport's emergency response system are planned for completion this summer, along with runway lighting system improvements in July. The airport also was recently granted federal funding for interior lighting and insulation in four hangars.

"It's going to be a busy summer," Kaspari said.



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