New Smyrna Hoping for $1 Million-Plus Grant for Airport Upgrades
September 21, 2013
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  • NEW SMYRNA BEACH — City officials hope to get word this week that they have received at least a $1.3 million federal grant to resurface the primary runway and upgrade taxiways at the Municipal Airport.

    The office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, sent out an email last week that said the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the $1,316,295 grant had been awarded to the city. However, Rhonda Walker, manager of the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport, said she has not been notified by the Federal Aviation Administration — the agency responsible for approving the grant — that they will get the money.

    “We haven’t received anything,” she said Friday.

    A FAA spokesperson could not be reached for comment last week.

    Walker said she applied for an almost $1. 7 million in grants to upgrade the runway and two taxiways and still hoped to receive the maximum amount. The primary runway at the airport hasn’t been resurfaced in 20 years. The runway will not be extended as part of the upgrades, Walker said. The taxiways, which Walker said were built by the U.S. Navy, haven’t been repaired in decades. Portions of the taxiways will be reconstructed and new lights and signs will be installed along the strips. The project will be done in three phrases at a total estimated cost of $1,844,000.

    Walker said she was told by an FAA official to expect “nothing concrete” about the grant until this week. However, because the FAA required that the grant be executed by Sept. 25, Walker said she put an item on the City Commission’s agenda Tuesday asking that the grants be accepted. Walker said if the city receives word that the grant hasn’t been awarded, then the item could be pulled from the agenda.

    If the funding is received, construction at the airport could begin in February 2014 and be completed in early 2015.