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Airport backers urge county to seek matching funds

Huron County, Ohio, elected leaders have the “perfect opportunity” to apply for federal funds to improve the county airport in Norwalk—and pilots should urge them to seek the money as the airport takes on new importance for the local economy, AOPA said.

The Huron County commissioners must act by Aug. 10, but recalling a 2011 debate over accepting federal dollars, they have not disclosed whether they plan to submit the application prepared by the airport authority for about $268,000 to fund drainage improvement, removal of obstructions, and taxiway and ramp-surface maintenance projects at the Norwalk-Huron County Airport. The airport authority presented the commissioners with the prepared application on June 29.

AOPA is urging any pilots who have used the airport to contact the county commissioners and make the case for their signing the grant application. The commissioners have previously expressed reluctance to seek the funds despite efforts by airport supporters who raised private funds to help provide the local match for the federal allocation.

“According to the airport authority, local donations and judicious use of the airport’s cash reserves will allow the county to benefit without the need to spend county money for the local matching funds, in spite of the increase in the local share this year,” wrote John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy in a July 12 letter to the county commissioners.

In an effort to strengthen airport supporters’ hand, the Friends of the Huron County Airport support group conducted research concluding that approximately 70 companies benefitted from use of the airport by business aircraft.

“Now, it is up to the county commissioners to approve and sign the airport grant application,” said Dan LeClair, president of the support group in an email message to members. “This grant will cost county taxpayers zero, while improving county infrastructure, a win-win situation for all.”

In his letter to Huron County officials, Collins also noted that the airport was poised to receive more based aircraft and traffic because of the announced closing of the nearby Griffing-Sandusky Airport.

Huron County “has a perfect opportunity to take advantage of federal funding” for the needed renovations, he wrote, adding, “We strongly support your submission of the grant application.”

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy

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