By Joseph Bustos
LAKE IN THE HILLS – The village has approved its wish list of proposed airport improvement projects valued at $11.5 million, according to village documents.
The municipality hopes it will be awarded federal dollars for the projects.
Next month, the list will be presented to the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, which will make the ultimate funding determination, most likely in January. IDOT decides how it will disburse the federal transportation dollars given to the state.
“They know these projects are important,” said Manny Gomez, the village deputy public works director and airport manager. “We’ll be trying our best to secure funding to make these projects move forward.”
Gomez said the village is willing to make adjustments to the projects if it will help secure money.
“If possible, we’ll try to match their needs as well to make things move forward,” Gomez said.
Village officials proposed $11.5 million worth of projects. If all were all approved, the projects would take place between 2014 and 2018.
Projects are proposed annually, but aren’t always approved, depending on available funding and the needs of other airports, Gomez said.
Some of the proposals include constructing a creating a new area for airplanes to park, relocating an entrance road, building new hangars, constructing a new automobile parking lot, and building a new terminal.
“The concept has been on the drawing board for a while,” Gomez said.
The projects are part of the village’s airport safety improvement program, which is “being done to bring the airport in compliance with current [Federal Aviation Administration] standards,” Gomez said.
If the projects are approved, 90 percent of the funding would be federal dollars, 5 percent will be from the state, and 5 percent will be local money. The local contribution would come from revenue generated by the airport, said Fred Mullard, the village public works director.
The airport was built in the 1950s but didn’t become a public airport until 1984, when it was acquired by the village.