By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
The ongoing project to expand the apron at the Washington Municipal Airport got a shot in the arm thanks to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant to continue expanding.
On Friday, U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack presented airport officials with a $269,000 FAA grant to provide additional area for planes to park and turn. Airport commission chair Kevin Erpelding said the grant would aid in allowing the airport to expand to the west. He said the overall project to expand the apron is a long-term project and would continue for many years. He expects the expansion made possible by the grant to go for bids in the fall, with construction beginning next year. The project is expected to expand the apron about 5,000 square yards.
?We?re slowly trying to expand our ramp to have more room because right now we are having a problem getting planes in and turned around when we have larger aircraft,? Erpelding said. ?If we have many planes in we have a hard time getting them turned around or into our fuel farm.?
He said another goal the commission has in the next five years is to create another space planes can fuel. He said this project will create an area to make that possible.
So far, the airport has spent about $750,000 to expand the apron and this project will continue that expansion.
Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said especially during spraying season the airport has had a problem with not having the space to accommodate all the traffic. He said another portion of the plan is constructing a new hanger.