Clinton airport lands grant

CLINTON — A taxiway improvement project is in the works for the Clinton Municipal Airport.

Confirmed by Airport Manager Mike Nass, the project is set to replace the nearly 30-year-old runway at the complex, which Nass says has reached the end of its functional lifespan.

"The surfaces of these runways typically last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, so this one is at the end of its prime," Nass said Monday of the project. "Now, we really have to look at it from a safety angle and make the necessary upgrades to offer the best services that we can."

According to Nass, the current taxiway is roughly 25 feet wide, and has become slightly too narrow and unable to properly accommodate some of the larger aircraft coming into the airport. The manager placed a price tag on the improvements at $508,710.

A majority of that cost is already available, with $450,000 already in the bank, Nass said. In recent weeks, U.S. Sen. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, announced that a significant chunk of the funding, $382,500 to be exact, would be coming from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to help aid in the effort.

"The Clinton Municipal Airport plays a critical role in allowing the community to grow, as well as fuel additional economic development throughout the region,” Loebsack said. "I am pleased that Clinton Municipal Airport is receiving this competitive funding, helping the airport grow safely and effectively."

Nass is confident the remaining $58,710 for the project will be easily attainable, and that the construction will be able to begin in a timely fashion – though he didn't give an exact starting date Monday.

The airport in recent years has been the subject of several key upgrades, including a new hangar and improvements to the main terminal, waiting area, pilots' lounge, and offices. The projects have been lauded by Clinton-area community members and incoming pilots and passengers alike.

Surprisingly, Nass said, the upcoming taxiway project won't put a hindrance on the airport's ability to serve customers while it's being completed.

"We'll actually be able to stay open," Nass said of the construction. "Once it's done, we're confident that the new, safer taxiway will be able to hold up for another 20 or 30 years or so, and hold up and be able to do what it's meant to do."