A longer runway at the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County could lead to more corporate jet traffic and more revenue for the airport's operations.
Bids are coming in to extend the airport's runway by 500 more feet, to just over 5,000 linear feet, and the hope is to get it done by the spring.
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The estimated $800,000 project comes on the heels of recent improvements on the property off Valley Road in Beavercreek Twp.
A new, 7,500 square-foot hangar has been built at a cost of $510,000. Airport Director Dave Kushner said the new hangar can accommodate "high-tail" corporate jets, and a longer runway will attract those kinds of aircraft.
"We had a jet in last year, a large jet, and he could not fuel because we didn't have enough runway. His weight would be too much and he could not take off," Kushner said. "We lost maybe a $2,000 fuel sale because of our shorter runway. So it can cost us money."
Kushner said the new hangar is fulfilling a dire need for space to store aircraft. He said the hope is a corporation will lease the hangar and use the airport on their way to and from business trips.
"As of right now, we have virtually no space to house any aircraft," Kushner said. "We didn't have any until this hangar came along."
Greene County officials see the airport as an opportunity to bring in economic development to the region.
Taking advantage of that opportunity means addressing some of the airport's "limiting factors," said Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson.
"We really see the airport as an economic driver in the county. We're trying to remove some of those barriers," Huddleson said.
A key aspect in the conversation is getting water and sewer services extended to the airport property.
It's a $2.2 million project, and some funding is already in place.
The Ohio Public Works Commission is offering a $650,000 grant toward the project, with a $300,000 loan at zero percent interest.
Beavercreek Twp. Is devoting $100,000 toward extending the water and sewer services to the airport, in-part because there's a desire to build a new fire station on or near the airport property.
Huddleson said the county must come up with $1.1 million of its share to move forward with the project.