December 13, 2007

Airport Upgrade Complete, Future Improvements ‘On The Radar’

With a significant upgrade project winding down at Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport this year the Memphis City Council is already preparing for future projects to continue to improve the Scotland County facility.

Engineer Brian Garkie of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc., is working with the city to continue the successful capital improvement program that has been made possible in large part by federal grant funding.

The City of Memphis has been receiving federal funding through the non-primary entitlement (NPE) program since 2003.

Those annual payments through 2007 helped fund the recent taxiway and lighting improvements that were just completed at the airport this fall.

The grants, which were administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation, amounted to a total of $580,000 over the past five years, with the city receiving $70,000 in both 2003 and 2004, before the allotment went up to $145,000 in 2005 and 2006. This year’s funding was $150,000.

The current project has a price tag of $533,924.

The funding requires a percentage match by the city, which amounts to $26,696.25, some of which is paid through in-kind labor and services on the construction.

With the likelihood the federal funding could continue at its current level, Garkie recommend the city prepare a new capital improvement program (CIP) for 2009-2013.

The airport committee members are reviewing the existing long-range planning goals that were used to determine the need for the current project.

Other items on that list that were not funded but possibly could be considered for future rounds of the grant cycle likely will highlight the new CIP report that is to be submitted to MoDOT in the near future.

The list includes an estimated $3.2 million in upgrades and improvements. One of the biggest costs would be breaking and seating the runway with a bituminous overlay at an estimated cost of $1 million. Other projects to consider include expanding the apron and construction of new hangar taxiways that could cost half a million dollars. Another big dollar item being considered is construction of a parallel taxiway at an $800,000 price tag.

Smaller budget items would include construction of a terminal building ($150,000); construction of a new airport entrance road ($225,000); installation of a new Avgas fuel facility ($175,000); relocating the T-hangars ($100,000); installing new medium intensity runway lights ($125,000); plus numerous other electrical upgrades at lower cost figures.

The city council will work with the airport committee along with the engineering service to prioritize the projects and to work toward receiving the block grant funding that has made improvements possible at the rural airport.

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