The Alexandria Airport will receive $181,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help renovate the building that once housed the Bellanca Viking Aircraft manufacturer.

Currently, the building is in poor condition and partially occupied by two businesses for manufacturing and warehousing purposes.

The city hopes the renovation will allow the businesses to expand and attract new business to the location. The building plans to add six full-time employees in the next five years. Total cost of the renovation is $362,000.

DEED awarded a total of $681,000 in grants.The Duluth Airport Authority and Elbow Lake also received grants.

“These grants will create jobs and expand economic development opportunities in the Greater Minnesota communities receiving these grants,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This is an important investment as Minnesota’s economy begins to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 over the coming months.”

“I created and designed the Air Grants bill last year because I wanted to help smaller communities take advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities that local and regional airports offer,” said Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, the Senate author of the Air Grants bill. “I am excited to see the rewards that Alexandria, Duluth, and Elbow lake will be able to reap from this first round of funding.”

The Airport Infrastructure Renewal (AIR) grant program was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in 2019 as part of the jobs omnibus bill. The AIR program provides grants to counties, airport authorities or cities to retain or grow jobs in the area, increase the tax base and create new local economic development.