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Alexandria Airport to receive $5.8M for improvements

Most of the cost, 93%, will come from federal and state grants. The City of Alexandria will cover the remaining 7%, which will come out of the city’s Airport Development Fund.

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The Alexandria Airport, owned by the city, was ranked the 13th busiest among all 134 public airports in the state in 2019.
File photo
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ALEXANDRIA – Big improvements are almost ready to take off at the Alexandria Airport.

At its Monday meeting, the Alexandria City Council approved a grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to reconstruct runway 13-31 and replace the airfield’s electrical system. Runway 13-31 is the main runway at the airport.

The total cost of the project, including $320,300 in design work, is estimated at $5.8 million. Most of the cost, 93%, will come from federal and state grants. The city will cover the remaining 7%, which will come out of the city’s Airport Development Fund.

The project, if bids are approved, could begin next fall, 2023, and the reconstruction of the runway will have a "significant impact" at the airport in the summer of 2024, according to Airport Manager Kreg Anderson. While the runway is under construction, jets and planes with turbo engines won't be able to land on the other runways because they're not long enough, he said.

"I'm looking forward to the project but it will be a bit of a turbulent summer," Anderson told the council. He added that local business might be affected and he'll be keeping them in the loop.

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Kreg Anderson

Back in March, the council authorized staff to submit a grant application to the FAA and the Minnesota Department of Transportation that allowed the design work to begin for the 2023-2024 airport improvement project.

The city has since found out that the application was approved.

By accepting the grant, the city is committing to completing the project within three years. If it doesn’t meet the timeline, it’s possible that the FFA and MnDOT would request the return of their share of the design phase improvements, $298,700.

According to the engineering firm for the city, TKDA, the existing runway pavements and electrical systems have reached the end of their service life and need to be replaced. Also, runway safety area grading and removing obstructions – which are also part of the project – are necessary to meet current FAA standards, the firm said.

Bids for the airport project are expected to be opened in the spring of 2023.

In 2019, the Alexandria Airport brought in 5,442 visitors to the city who spent $8.6 million here, generated $14.6 million in economic activity and contributed $569,570 in state and local tax revenues, according to an annual report from Anderson.

The data was from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that released a statewide economic impact study of all 134 public airports in the state, Anderson said. Alexandria was ranked as the 13th busiest in Minnesota.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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