Land buy advances Morris Airport expansion
By Sarwat S. Ahmad Correspondent November 21, 2012 9:38AM
Updated: December 26, 2012 6:21AM
Morris’ airport expansion plans are moving forward with the last and largest of its land purchases having been completed.
Aldermen on Monday night approved the purchase of a 73-acre parcel marked C-2 for $1.6 million. With the three previous parcels that have already been acquired, the city has now procured a total of 79 acres for just more than $2 million.
Most of that amount will be covered by a state-controlled $3.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The city will only have to cover about 5 percent of the cost. The federal government will cover 90 percent and the state will cover the remaining 5 percent.
The city’s negotiations with the owners of the C-2 parcel have been ongoing for at least two years, City Attorney Scott Belt said. “(With this purchase) we are rounding third and heading down the home stretch,” Belt said.
A proposed settlement agreement for a little over an acre of airspace above Saratoga cemetery is in place and has to be finalized, Belt said.
Expansion plans include extending the airport’s 5,000-foot runway and taxiway another 500 feet as well as widening it from 75 feet to 100 feet, Mayor Richard Kopczick said.
The final step will be to overlay the runway with more asphalt so that it can accommodate heavier jets. The expansion plans are part of an effort to attract more corporate business to Morris Airport.
“We’re not looking to land any 737s or any Southwest flights — rather private corporate jets, “ Kopczick said,
Bid-letting for the project should take place in about two months and then construction should start at some point in the first half of next year, said Alderman Julian Houston, who is chairman of the airport committee.