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Local

Absences delay airport discussion to Thursday

MORRIS – The Airport Committee was due to meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but two of the three alderman were unable to attend the meeting, Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick.

The meeting has been moved to Thursday, when the committee can discuss a letter to be sent regarding a request for qualifications for consulting engineering services at the Morris Municipal Airport.

“According to the FAA, we have to do a request for qualifications every five years, it’s basically the same as a request for proposal on a job site,” Kopczick said.

The last change was in 2012, so the time to do it again is here, not to mention without one they can’t get to work on the items on their “to do” list.

In fiscal 2018, there are plans to expand the parking lot and landside facilities, remove obstructions, construct a 12-place nested Tee Hangar, as well as initiate the environmental assessment to include a crosswind and final main runway configurations.

Kopczick said they already have approval on the hangar but now they are waiting on getting an engineer so it can be built as planned.

The hangars are a needed financial resource for the airport as they pay for themselves and other items being implemented thanks to the rent they receive off each hangar.

In fiscal 2019, the board plans to take care of the services associated with the acquisition of land for the crosswind runway and do typical improvements associated with the maintenance and upgrade of the airport and facilities. Board members will then have to decide in fiscal 2020 whether they want to construct a 3,500-foot crosswind runway at the cost of nearly $5 million.

“The taxpayers need to know this isn’t coming out of their money; we get 90 percent from the federal government and we also have income from the hangars to help us pay our 10 percent,” Kopczick said.

The reason the crosswind runway is needed is because the current runway runs north and south. If the winds are coming out of the west, the pilot is unable to land at his home airport due to the strong possibility of the plane flipping over.

In the 1970s, there was a grass runway that ran east and west, but it is long gone and nearly forgotten. The number and size of airplanes coming in and out of Morris Municipal Airport couldn’t use such a runway.

The agreement for consultant services will be entered into at the appropriate time for each project independently, according to a handout given to board members and provided to the press.

“It is anticipated that the first year’s project will begin in January 2018 and every September to November thereafter will result in the development of additional project contracts,” the agenda reads.

As always the public is invited to attend the committee meeting with any questions or concerns.

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