County airport receives 95,000 grant award

Staff reports

The Grand Marais-Cook County Airport is among five airports in northeast Minnesota that have been awarded over $2.2 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Thefunds will come from the FAA's Airport Improvement Program.

"This program is designed to make critical investments in airports in rural America," said Congressman Jim Oberstar. "Airports in these communities help with economic development and job creation, making it possible to move goods and services to market."

The Cook County facility will receive $95,000 to conduct an environmental impact study for a new runway.

At a May 26, 2009 county board meeting, Airport Manager Rod Roy said the purpose of the project is to allow fire-fighting planes to land in order to mitigate forest fires. Theproject will widen the current runway and lengthen it from about 4,200 feet to 5,000 feet in order to accommodate fire bombers.

Roy said the cost of the entire project is projected at $12,000,000, resulting in a county match of $600,000. To keep annual costs down, the project may be completed over the course of three years.

Other awards went to the Brainerd Lake Regional Airport to improve the aircraft rescue and firefighting building, rehabilitate runway aprons, the parking lot and the terminal building; $301,601 to Grand Rapids/Itasca Airport to acquire land expansion, improve runway and planning; $840,750 to International Falls Airport to purchase snow removal equipment, rehabilitate runways and improve airport beacons; and $228,000 to Silver Bay Municipal Airport for the second phase of construction of an arrival and departure building.

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