The Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport located in the heart of one of the fastest growing regions of the country now has the necessary funding to begin paving the extension of its north/south runway. By doing so, it will mean a greater variety of business class aircraft will be able to utilize the airport. This could lead to an even greater economic impact for the entire community.
The Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport master plan, first approved in 1996 and then updated in 2000, paved the way for the airport improvements by calling for the north/south runway length of 5,500 feet. The earthwork project to accommodate the longer runway began in October 2015, and was completed in summer 2016.
Bids for the runway pavement project were received in May 2016, with Emery Sapp and Sons being the low bidder. The pavement project will begin in fall 2016, and should be complete in fall 2017. The project will be phased due to the necessity of airfield closures. The engineering design firm for the project is Crawford Murphy and Tilly, Inc.
“What can I say except we’re on our way and I could not be more pleased with the news,” said Ohrazda who has been involved with this project for several years. “The final plans for the pavement design project were completed in late April 2016. However, the City could not move forward without the necessary funding,” he said. The City had been expecting an answer about the status of the grant request in the fall of this year from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The approval letter awarding the grants from the FAA was received by the City in September. And at the Oct. 7 Lee’s Summit City Council meeting, the councilmembers approved accepting nearly $10 million for continued improvements to the airport. The grants will fund the construction of the concrete pavement for the approximate 1,500 foot extension of north/south runway 18-36 from 4,000 to 5,500 feet.
In addition to the funding from the FAA, there are other dollars crucial to the success of this project. The breakdown of the funding comes from the following sources:
■ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is providing a grant in the amount of $9,372,772, which is 90% of the cost of the construction and inspection for this project. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is managing the construction funds provided by the FAA.
■ City of Lee’s Summit, by way of the Airport Capital Improvement Plan, is providing 5% local matching funds of $520,709.
■ A State Airport Aid Agreement is providing an additional 5% of the project cost, or $520,709. This is handled through the MoDOT.
Presently, the City’s airport can accommodate aircraft ranging from a single engine, single seat, up to, and including midsize corporate jets. Approximately 50,000 take-offs and landings occur annually, which is the equivalent of about 137 operations daily. The majority of these operations are business related flights bringing marketing, professional, technical, service and support staffers to the area. These individuals spend money in the community at the local hotels, car rental agencies and restaurants.
"This is an exciting time for Lee’s Summit with all of the economic development activity in the Interstate 470 corridor near the airport. The approval of funding for the runway extension will encourage additional investment as we accommodate more business and corporate aircraft," said Mayor Randy Rhoads. “This is the type of news that continues to solidify Lee’s Summit’s ranking as a best place to live in the metropolitan area, state, and nation. I am grateful for the support of the FAA and the MoDOT,” said Mayor Rhoads.
City of Lee’s Summit Deputy Director of Public Works Bob Hartnett added, "This has been 20 years in the making and we owe a great deal of thanks to previous and present members of the Lee’s Summit City Council, the Board of Aeronautic Commissioners (BOAC), Lee's Summit Economic Development Council, and the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce as well as City staff and residents. Their unwavering tenacity helped us clear the path to this airport progress.”
For more information about the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, visit LSairport.net.