Last updated: August 23. 2013 5:55PM - 190 Views

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OTTAWA — An expanded runway at the Putnam County Airport will allow the airport to handle larger aircraft for takeoffs and landings. The expanded runway was completed earlier this month.

Work on the existing runway at the airport began Aug. 20 and was completed Nov. 3. The expansion included widening the existing runway 10 feet and lengthening it to a total of 4,500 feet. A complete new overlay was also added to the runway.

“This changes the class of the airport,” said airport manager Ken Decker.

He said the expansion was made possible through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We get a $150,000 federal grant each year,” Decker said. “We have been banking the money for this runway for several years.”

Decker said the grants from the FAA used to be 95 percent provided by the federal government with a required local match of 5 percent.

“Now a 10 percent match is required,” Decker said.

The airport authority had banked $575,000 from the federal grants at 90 percent.

The Putnam County Airport will eventually pay for the entire 10 percent match with money raised from hanger rental and fuel commissions. In the meantime the Putnam County commissioners approved an advance of up to $155,676 to the operations fund on Aug. 7, with the Putnam County Airport Board agreeing to pay the county $15,000 a year until this advance is repaid.

Decker said the airport is constantly busy including corporations using the airport three to four times per week, two aerial photographers based at the airport who often fly daily, and numerous other businesses using the airport throughout the week. The runway expansion follows a 2006 completion of the 25-foot by 90-foot terminal that includes a flight planning area, pilot lounge with Internet and television access, and conference room..

“We get a lot of pilots who use our terminal while their corporate representatives are doing business in the area,” Decker said.

There are 24 aircraft based at the Putnam County Airport.

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