Lima airport climbs to new heights

ALLEN COUNTY — Moving onward and upward, the Allen County Regional Airport announced the completion of a new project Tuesday. The ACRA was awarded $2.5 million in COVID relief funding for various projects. In August of 2022, the airport was able to install new airport lighting.

The project consisted of runway edge lights, taxiway edge lights, runway end lights, REILS and runway 10 PAPI lights. The airport was also able to install new runway and taxiway guidance signs and replace an electrical vault that runs electricity through the field.

Airport manager Josh Tattrie weighed in on the recent projects.

“We used to have two runways; one was grass and one was pavement,” said Tattrie.

In 2017, the runway was repaved to develop the airport Allen County has today. Over the years, ACRA has transformed the airport by completing various projects.

In August of 2022, the airport was closed for further development.

“The taxiway runway lights and signage: All of that was replaced this summer,” said Jennifer Shimp, airport assistant manager. “They went through and trenched out all the electrical for it. That was the $2 million project. It was our big project. You can see it from the sky. It is all LED lights. You can be miles out and say, ‘there’s the airport;’ you can’t miss it.”

Tattrie added the organization is free of debt and will continue to use COVID relief funding and a new infrastructure bill that will help pay for further development.

The ACRA provides services for freight deliveries, business flights including Walmart and Meijer, medical transportation and much more. Due to medical flights, airport workers are on call 24/7.

“We have organ-donor flights, charter flights and medical,” added Shimp. “We get a lot of the helicopters. The ones you see flying out of Lima Memorial Hospital and Bon-Secours Mercy Health St. Rita’s. They will stop here for fuel or sometimes they will bring their passengers here and have an EMS to the hospital. Organ donations are a huge deal when they happen.

“If someone passes away and had decided to be an organ donor. Sometimes we will have three or four jets out here,” Shimp said. “They all bring in a crew, surgical team or doctors and they will pick up the organs and take them to the hospital. It is pretty neat to see when it happens.”

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.