Various infrastructure projects at airports in the western part of the state will be getting off the ground soon thanks in great part to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s recent approval of nearly $800,000 in state grants.
The grants for West Woodward Municipal Airport, Anadarko Municipal Airport and Clinton Municipal Airport come from the Commission’s Three-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) or Construction Program.
“Our local airports are gateways to the world for businesses and for the communities where they are located,” said Director of Aeronautics Vic Bird. “It is important that as a state, we make sure that the Oklahoma Airport System is comprised of airports that are safe and reliable but also, when possible, affords business travelers with modern amenities and conveniences.”
West Woodward Municipal Airport
West Woodward Municipal Airport will receive a $475,000 grant that will be used to rehabilitate the secondary runway and the asphalt sections of the parallel taxiway system. The city of Woodward will provide $25,000 in matching funds.
State aviation officials said during recent pavement inspections of both the secondary runway and the parallel taxiway, they observed some cracking and raveling that they blamed on various factors, namely age and weathering. Workers will repair the asphalt, perform a seal coat and then remark both surfaces.
“This maintenance project is being done because in two years, we are going to close down the primary runway and do a major rehab on it,” said Dale Williams, deputy director for the Commission and head of its Airports Division. “Once that traffic gets transferred over to the secondary runway, we need to make sure it is in good enough shape to handle it.”
State Sen. Bryce Marlatt, whose district includes the city of Woodward, said he appreciated the support the Aeronautics Commission has made over the years in northwestern Oklahoma.
“I appreciate what the Aeronautics Commission has done in helping cities inside my district develop their airports. Living in northwestern Oklahoma can be a challenge weather-wise, which can impact pavement conditions, whether it is on roadways, highways or runways. This grant will certainly benefit every individual who flies in or out of West Woodward Airport,” Sen. Marlatt said.
Anadarko Municipal Airport
The Commission approved a $219,652 state grant to Anadarko Municipal Airport for a $230,160 project to install new runway lights, a wind cone and beacon. The city of Anadarko will pick up the remaining $11,508.
Former state Senator and current Anadarko City Manager Kenneth Corn said he was grateful that the Aeronautics Commission chose to approve the state grant, saying the improvements to the airport are sorely needed.
“Besides the obvious safety benefits new lights will provide, they can also attract additional tenants to our airport who may want to lease hangar space for their aircraft, which in turn means more revenue for the airport,” said Corn.
The city of Anadarko falls within the districts of state Sen. Darcy Jech and State Rep. David Perryman. Both echoed Corn’s sentiments, also noting the long-time support the Aeronautics Commission has made to airports within their respective districts.
“I can’t tell you how much it has meant for airports within my entire district – not just Anadarko – that have received some kind of financial assistance from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission,” said Sen. Jech. “Without a doubt, airport infrastructure improvements in those communities have made a huge difference in the quality of life for everyone in some form or fashion.”
Rep. Perryman commented, “I appreciate the Commission’s willingness to step up to the plate for small airports in our state that often times do not have the available resources to maintain or improve their infrastructure in a timely manner.”
Clinton Municipal Airport
Clinton Municipal Airport was awarded a $57,000 state grant that will be used to put down a seal coat on the airport’s main parking apron and then remark the apron once that part of the project is complete. The city will provide $3,000 to the project as part of its required share.
State officials said this project will be the final phase to rehab the entire parking apron. Workers have already performed a much-needed crack seal after an earlier pavement inspection revealed cracking that had produced small gravel. This gravel, known in aviation circles as foreign object debris, or FOD, has the potential to severely damage an aircraft’s engine or propeller.
“A special thanks to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and Director Bird and his staff for ensuring that our state’s airport system is top notch by helping general aviation airports not only in my district, but elsewhere across the state,” said Mike Schulz, who represents Clinton in the state Senate.
Rep. Harold Wright added, “For a city located in my district, I can attest to the fact that receiving grants from the Aeronautics Commission for projects of varying sorts has been extremely beneficial for the flying public. There are many businesses and individuals in and around Clinton who utilize the airport on a regular basis. So to ensure they have a safe environment in which to fly is paramount for everyone.”
Through its CIP, the Commission determines the airport projects that will be constructed at the 107 general aviation airports that are part of the state system and how they will be funded. Projects are prioritized based upon safety, preservation, standards and capacity.
Federal grants typically require a 10-percent local match from the airport sponsor. The Aeronautics Commission provides half this local match for projects identified in its three-year construction program. State grants require a five-percent local match.