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Airport hangar project begins

This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times

By Ron Osburn

Jul 1, 2022

Visitors to the July 4th Fly-In Breakfast at the Williams County Regional Airport this year will see a couple of new things. One, a classic car cruise-in has been added to the Fly-In this year. And two, attendees will notice ground has been broken on a new $2 million dual-purpose hangar, just east of the airport office.

This past Monday, Brent Wilson, of the Williams County Regional Airport Authority, updated county commissioners on the project, which has been discussed since mid-2021, when commissioners approved paying $25,000 to Delta Airport Consultants, headquartered in Virginia, for a feasibility study.

At the time, Wilson said other counties, including Auglaize and Lake counties in Ohio, utilize a building at their respective airports mostly as a hangar for private planes, but also as a staging facility for use during emergencies by agencies and entities such as the local and federal Emergency Management Agencies, the Red Cross and the National Guard. So rather than just have an EMA building that sits empty 95% of the time, these counties have buildings at the airport that serve a dual purpose, he explained.

The hangar’s current estimated cost of $2.35 million — before expected reimbursements — has more than doubled since the September 2021 estimate of about $1.1 million. However, inflation and price hikes on materials and labor have spiked in the past year, pushing up the price, along with the cost of some “add-ons,” such as a pair of offices and a storage closet, with dedicated air conditioning and heat units, that have been added at the request of the Williams County EMA, Wilson said.

Wilson said he anticipates that Federal Aviation Administration will eventually reimburse about $434,000 of the cost to have Delta add a ramp connector from the south end of the hangar to the airport runway ramp.

“Asphalt has gone up here. I am hoping that it is not that much, and (Delta) can still stick to their price. We are at $2.35 million (but) we get $434,000 back (from the FAA) in 2024 ... our budget was $2 million, so it brings the cost back under budget at $1.9 million,” Wilson told commissioners.

In response to a question from Julie Beagle of the county auditor’s office about the guarantee of reimbursement, Wilson said the county airport’s participation in a ACIP, or Airports Capital Improvement Plan, guarantees a 90% reimbursement, plus 5% anticipated reimbursement from the state of Ohio.

He then requested about $76,000 for Thiel Construction to obtain initial necessary construction permits and $240,000 for Delta’s fees to begin the project.

“So in essence, we need to be prepared to have ... $2.354 million set aside to draw from, with the understanding that some of that will be coming back in by grant,” said Commissioner Lew Hilkert. He then indicated that commissioners have also dedicated $750,000 the county is receiving from the Montpelier solar field project to be applied to offset the cost of the dual purpose hangar.

In addition, revenue from hangar rental fees and jet fuel sales will also be dedicated to offset hangar costs, Wilson added.

In separate receipts and expenditures, Wilson said the airport expects an additional $159,000 this year from the Biden Administration on top of the normal $150,000 annual funding from the FAA to go toward equipment.

“We are going to purchase our own snow plow equipment here in October. It’s going to be basically a tractor with a loader on the front of it that will have a push blade or a hydraulic blade to help take care of the runway,” Wilson said, adding the airport will also buy a broom that attaches to the tractor to sweep the runway.

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