Clinton lands airport grant

CLINTON — Federal funding has been awarded to the Clinton Municipal Airport to repair roughly 250 feet of taxiway as the airport gets set to welcome larger corporate jets as summer weather sets in.

Officials this week announced $160,200 in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration to aid in the project, one which was deemed necessary by airport personnel such as Marlena Sokolovich, who currently serves as the site manager.

The project will ensure that the airport continues to cater to aircraft of all sizes, Sokolovich said Wednesday.

"That stretch of taxiway was fairly old to my knowledge, and we had noticed that it had been deteriorating," Sokolovich said. "It was something that needs to get done."

The pavement grant also received praise from legislative officials like Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, who frequents the area often as he visits constituents.

In a press release, Loebsack applauded the work of Sokolovich and others as they continually keep up with the growing demands of the airport.

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

The airport features a 100-foot-by-140-foot hanger that was completed in recent years, paired with upgrades to the site's main terminal and office space. With large corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland and Nestle-Purina inhabiting Clinton and its surrounding areas, convenient air travel for executives and other officials has been a marked priority as business expands or changes.

Updated taxiway surfaces are a must in today's competitive world, Sokolovich highlighted.

"It's very important," Sokolovich said of the improvement. "Just looking over the site, we could see that we had some issues with just the runway and taxiway system not being configured properly, so those are things that we knew we needed to address right away."

This spring and summer have been more significant infrastructure-wise, Sokolovich said, due to the incredibly harsh winter conditions dealt to the Gateway area this year. As snow and ice thawed revealing cracks or other surface damage, crews hit the drawing board, as they have done, to be proactive rather than reactive.

"We are very proactive here; we have to be," Sokolovich said. "At a site like this, you can't just sit around and wait for what's next. We have to know what's next, especially after such a rough winter that we had. We know that larger aircraft are on their way this summer, so it's very important for us to be proactive."