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Airport plans big improvements

Workers were taking core samples at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport during the airport board meeting on Friday in preparation for building a new transient hangar.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

A new 5-year Capital Improvement Program for the Shelbyville Municipal Airport outlines major upgrades for the facility.

The airport’s Board of Directors has approved the proposal which includes extending the airport’s runway to 6,200 feet, along with accompanying taxiways.

“With this plan, you’re asking for almost $3 million,” said Mark Shillington, the airport’s engineering consultant, at a recent board meeting.

Costs would be paid for mainly through grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); state and local matching funds are required.

The city of Shelbyville owns and operates the 520-acre airport. In January, a new company, Aero Management Group LLC, took over day-to-day operations as part of the city’s plan to grow the facility and attract new business.

Located at County Road 3529 N 100W, on the far northwest side of Shelbyville, the airport hosted more than 18,000 operations in 2017, placing it on par with airports in Kokomo, Anderson and Smith Field Airport in Fort Wayne, according to the capital plan.

Airport officials recently hosted an on-site meeting with representatives from the FAA, noted Jennifer Meltzer, who is the city attorney for Shelbyville.

““It was more of a general update visit,” she said, at the airport board meeting Friday.

Rehabilitating and extending the runway would require funding next year, Shillington told the board.

The total estimate for doing the runway comes to $1.72 million, according to the 5-year plan. Federal funds would pay for 90 percent of the cost; state and local matching funds of $86,000 each are required.

Bids for the project are due to be taken before the FAA’s grant application deadline of July 2019.

Phase 2 construction, doing the taxiways, is estimated to cost $1.05 million, again paid for with a 90-5-5 percent cost sharing. Those bids are to be taken before July 2022, the plan states.

Meanwhile, work has begun to construct a new transient hangar that will house planes flying into and out of the airport. 

Workers were drilling on Friday to take core samples at the proposed T-hangar location. The airport board approved having Shillington do a required environmental assessment at a cost not to exceed $10,000.

The Shelbyville Plan Commission is due to hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 on the airport’s petition to build the hangar. 

Meltzer, the city attorney, said bids for the project likely would be taken in February.

In other matters, the board discussed options with Brent Drake, who operates a flight instruction business at the airport.

Drake wants a new hangar space for his business and has been in a dispute with the airport about relocating it from his current space. 

Warren Good, a local attorney who is a member of the airport board, said the matter is before the FAA and asked to wait until that review is done.

Meltzer, who just recently became city attorney, asked Drake to get her information on his request to try to work out an agreement.