December 21, 2014

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Wadsworth gets $93,000 FAA grant to expand airport

Lisa Hlavinka | The Gazette

WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth Municipal Airport expansion got a boost from the federal government Tuesday when the city was awarded a $93,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The $93,000 from the FAA is part of a large series of grants we’re acquiring from the FAA for land acquisition for the expansion of the airport,” Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton said Wednesday.

The federal funds will allow Wadsworth to purchase nearly four acres of land to expand the airport.

One of the conditions of the funding is that the city performs an environmental analysis of the airport. That element of the expansion project will begin this year and extend through 2010, Easton said.

“We’ll be looking at issues like floodplains, wetlands, noise, and we’ll try to make a determination of the environmental impact of expanding the airport,” he said.

Earlier this year, City Council approved the airport master plan.

“The master plan essentially rebuilds our north-south runway to a distance of 5,000 feet,” Easton said.

The new runway will be built southwest of the current one, he said.

The overall cost to expand is estimated at $25.3 million and the project will begin in the next four to five years, Easton said.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Alliance, and Mayor Robin Laubaugh said the airport expansion will increase Wadsworth’s economic development opportunities.

“The airport is a major economic development tool for our community as several of our major employers regularly use this facility to more efficiently transact their business,” Laubaugh said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@ohio.net.