By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - Improvements are planned in the next few years at Dexter Municipal Airport, a vital link to this service-center community which has seen increased use. In the near future, bids will be solicited for construction of a 40-by-60-foot maintenance building. Construction on the metal hangar, which will have two entry doors, lighting, electrical hookups and a fuel tank, is expected in late summer 2005, according to Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson. It is anticipated that the state will fund 80 percent of the approximately $48,000 project.
There are now 13 hangars at the airport, with three more anticipated next year, according to airport manager Roger Nelson. He said an 18-lot subdivision made at the airport has drawn interest. "That seems to be kind of an attraction for people coming in," he said Thursday. And the improvements will attract more, he believes.
The federal government has earmarked about $3 million to eliminate a line-of-sight problem at the airport in future years and to address a safety area problem, Simpson said this week. These projects would require local matching funds.
Although discussions about the possible solutions are continuing, Simpson said the Department of Transportation plan calls for a major construction project that would raise both ends of the runway. He and local airport officials believe there are less expensive ways to resolve the situation, including the construction of a parallel taxiway, which is the preferred corrective action identified in the town's 2002 Airport Master Plan.
Katie Servis, airport planner for Hoyle, Tanner and Associates of Boston, Mass., who worked on the town's master plan, said this week that there are several options available to the town that would be less expensive than blasting out the middle section of the runway, which would involve closing the runway for the work. Those options will be discussed by all the parties in future meetings, she said.
The line-of-sight problem basically means that an aircraft on one end of the runway cannot see an aircraft on the opposite end because of a hump in the middle of the runway, Servis said. To correct the safety area problem, a space is needed at one end of the runway to be used in the same manner as a highway breakdown lane, she said. Servis said it is totally up to Dexter whether or not to proceed with the projects.
Servis said the federal government would pay 95 percent of the project costs, while the state and Dexter each would fund 2.5 percent of the costs. The local match had been 5 percent but was reduced, according
to Servis. Because Dexter has a high-profile development project, which is costly, the DOT is pushing to get it funded under the 2.5 percent local match, she said. That is because it is unknown whether the federal
government will increase the local share after 2007.
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