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Archive for Wednesday, January 3, 2007

El Dorado hopes expansion project will help airport grow

January 3, 2007

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— This southeastern Kansas town has set aside $85,000 to begin expanding its airport to attract corporate customers and generate additional business.

The money will go toward updating the airport's master plan, which Matt Rehder, assistant to city manager Herb Llewellyn, said hasn't been revisited since 1991.

Rehder said the city, about 27 miles from Wichita, would hire a consultant in the next few weeks and have the plan completed in about a year.

The city also is applying for Federal Aviation Administration grants to improve drainage at the airport, fix runway aprons, build additional taxiways and extend runways.

"We have identified projects to be done from 2008 to 2015," Rehder said. "The master plan will establish priorities for those projects. And it will enable us to get FAA funding to pay for them."

He said the key demand is longer runways because corporate jets typically need 5,000-foot runways.

"We have a refinery here and when people fly in, they have to land at Jabara in Wichita and drive out here, when we have an airport two miles from the refinery," he said.

Rehder said the city also would consider bringing in a private company to build and lease T-hangars for airplane storage.

In addition to improvements at the airport, the city plans to ask the consultant to look for ways to use the surrounding land for commercial or residential development and aviation-based business.

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