Seven-Year Long Airport Expansion Project Finalized
Mar. 11, 2010
The Garrett County Airport Runaway Extension Project is officially completed now that all the paperwork has been finalized, airport manager Ed Kelley told the county commissioners on Tuesday.
His announcement was part of a General Services departmental update report presented by director Gary Mullich.
Because of funding issues, the $17.5 million project was conducted in two phases over seven years. Design work and land acquisition began in 2003. Ground was broken in late 2004, and, finally, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the expanded airport last year.
“Construction was completed in 2009, but we were still in the process of completing the paperwork,” Kelley said. He noted that pro-cess took about eight months.
Mullich said the commissioners signed off on the airport layout plan about four weeks ago.
“That was the last piece of paperwork to go, which documents everything we’ve done for the last seven years,” the director said.
The project resulted in the airport length being increased by 2,000 feet. Construction there included a new 50-foot parallel taxiway, 24 airplane T-hangars, terminal and equipment buildings, and water/sewer lines. A new trackless vehicle, an upgraded AWOS (automated weather observing system), a new card reader system, and new security system were also added.
Funding came from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), about 82 percent, or $14.4 million; Garrett County, about 14 percent, or $2.4 million; Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), about 4 percent, or $691,000; and Federal Emergency Management Agency, about .002 percent, or $37,500.
Kelley said he compiled some before-construction and after-construction statistics, which indicate the expansion costs were a “very good investment” for the county.
In 2004, total sales at the airport amounted to $28,889, compared to $183,476 last year, according to Kelley.
“So, you can see the large jump in total sales,” he told the commissioners.
The average number of flights per day also increased. In ’04, there were 4.55 per day, compared to 7.85 last year when the expansion project was completed.
Kelley also noted there was a “large jump” in jet A fuel and avgas sales. In ’04, there were 8,465 gallons sold for a total income of $22,628. Last year, 24,349 gallons were sold, garnering the county $96,078.
More hangars at the airport also means more income for the county. In ’04, the county had only four hangars and received $3,760 in rent. Last year’s income was $76,806.