UP airports to receive organization funding for upgrades | WJMN

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  UP airports to receive organization funding for upgrades |  WJMN

Sawyer International Airport will receive $1,038,294. Duane DuRay, Director at Sawyer International Airport, says they haven’t picked an exact project for the funding yet.

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“With that we were able to offset our operating budget and we have been able to utilize those dollars for direct operating costs offset labor costs, maintenance costs anything that’s related to the airport operations but we equally have some larger projects on the roster,” said DuRay.

DuRay says they received around $18 million in funding through the CARES Act and they’ve been working on many projects to improve airport facilities.

Story Highlights

  • Several Upper Peninsula airports will receive funding from the federal government eligible to be used for runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability projects, as well as terminal, airport-transit connections and roadway projects.

  • “Our staff is looking at these particular projects and these dollars very closely and we’re trying to do a very strategic plan so that we are utilizing these dollars wisely,” said DuRay.

Lisa Linna, Airport manager at Schuster Field in Ontonagon County says there are a few projects that they would like to tackle including adding a weather system and camera or doing work on their terminal building but their focus right now is working on tree obstructions.

“The FAA hasn’t really issued their official guidance yet but I’m guessing they’re probably going to want us or are going to suggest to us anyway that we use it for tree obstructions that we have going on right now that’s our big issue here,” said Linna

$110,000 was allocated to Schuster Field. “This will be a great amount of money for us to help us with stuff that, you know maybe move our tree obstruction along quicker and hopefully we can get that done and move onto other projects like a weather station you know things like that,” said Linna.

Andrea  Nummilien, manager of the Delta County Airport, says they have no immediate plans for spending the money but do have some things it may be used for down the road. “We still are in the midst of the pandemic so I feel like it’s smart planning to hold off on any big spending at the moment just in case we need to use that grant money to supplement revenue streams,” said Michaeu.

 Nummilien says that the airport administration will work with the county administrator and county controller to put a plan in place for using the funding. “Some of the things like our airport hangars, we get federal funding yearly for the upkeep of the runway and the terminal building but the private hangars are not covered under that so this is a unique opportunity to have a chunk of money to throw at improvements for our hangars,” said Nummilien. “There’s a few other things too, there’s definitely equipment purchases that would be huge for operations for operations here at the airport.”

The following airports will be receiving these amounts from the allocations: Gogebic-Iron County Airport: $159,000Ontonagon County – Schuster Field: $110,000Houghton County Memorial Airport: $1,016,181Ford Airport (Iron Mountain): $1,014,409Delta County Airport: $1,012,361Sawyer International Airport: $1,038,294Schoolcraft County Airport: $110,000Luce County Airport: $110,000Mackinac County Airport: $110,000Chippewa County International Airport: $1,015,815Menominee Regional Airport: $159,000Mackinac Island Airport: $110,000Drummond Island Airport: $110,000

“Even though Escanaba might be a fraction the size of Detroit we are required to comply with the exact same set of rules,” said Nummilien. “We follow the same set of federal guidelines that they do, so when we need a runway fixed or you know a ramp if cracks are forming in our runway or ramp we need to have crack seal projects, we have to do those things and the funding just isn’t there for our county so it’s really important that we have grants to help us make these improvements that are required for us.” All airports across the United States are required to follow the same guidelines and regulations as established by the Federal Aviation Administration. Nummilien says for rural airports grants are needed to make required improvements.