The Springfield airport will soon begin a redevelopment project that could help bring new businesses to the metro area. The airport’s governing board cleared the way for the project this morning by awarding the construction contract to general contractor Hartman and Company, Inc. Work should begin in mid-April.
The project will redevelop and expand the airport’s general aviation complex by making 12 acres of airport property ready for new airplane hangars. The general aviation complex (GA for short) is that part of the airport which caters to business/corporate aircraft.
“The airport has had a shortage of GA hanger space for some time,” says Brian Weiler, airport director. “This work will make ground ready for eight new hangers by making water, gas, sewer, and electric service available, along with direct access to the airports taxiways.”
Once redevelopment work is done plane owners can lease hanger ready lots from the airport and then build the hangers.
Redevelopment funding comes courtesy of a $5 million aviation grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation. The airport will provide $565,563, making the total cost of the project approximately $5.6 million.
From the public’s perspective general aviation is generally out of sight and mind — commercial airline service tends to get the public’s attention. But GA flying is just as vital to the region’s economy.
“As Springfield’s economy continues to grow, and new businesses move here, we need to insure we have development ready hanger sites for them,” says Brent Singleton, chairman of the airport’s board of directors. “The last thing we want to tell a CEO, who wants to bring jobs to Springfield, is that we don’t have a spot for their corporate aircraft.”
Local economic development officials agree.
“Just as the airlines connect our community to the outside world, general aviation is oftentimes the front door for potential investors, business decision makers and corporate executives arriving in our region,” says Gary Powell, board president of the Springfield Business Development Corporation. “Having adequate GA facilities is something business prospects often look for.”
“In the past five years we’ve rebuilt much of the airport,” says Weiler. Recent improvements include a new passenger terminal for the commercial airlines, taxiway and runway improvements, along with a new fire station. “Now it’s time to turn our attention to the general aviation side of the airport. Not only will this project help address the GA hanger shortage; it will also clean up the aesthetics of the GA area, presenting a more polished, professional image for the GA community.”
GA activity at the airport is expected to increase about two percent a year for the next twenty years.