Upgrades to Greene County airport to bolster education, business use

Cost estimate for terminal upgrades jumps to $550K

XENIA — Interior upgrades and renovations to the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County have been hampered by rising costs, but airport authorities say the investments may still bolster the attractiveness of the facility, particularly for local and regional businesses and educational groups.

Greene County commissioners approved $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds last month to renovate the terminal interior at the airport, which is adjacent to U.S. 35, just southeast of the highway’s Trebein/Valley Road intersection. However, cost estimates for the project have jumped to around $550,000, according to airport manager Dave Kushner.

“Based on some of the conversations we’ve had recently, I expect our costs to increase, due to all the factors that are affecting construction projects across the board, increased cost of materials, inflation, and increased cost of labor,” said airport board president James Christensen. “We’re paying close attention to where we can reduce the scope of the project a bit, as well as tap into any additional sources of funding to deliver the project to its completion.”

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Changes to the terminal include an upgraded and expanded lobby and reception area, new restrooms and an updated pilot’s lounge, as well as necessary updates like a new HVAC system. The renovations are intended to modernize the facility, built in 1968, but also bolster its attraction for business usage, both from local businesses who have a need for aircraft space, but also from businesses outside the Miami Valley.

The Greene County airport is home to several businesses, including MacAir Aviation, which offers flight training and instruction, aircraft maintenance, and serves as fixed-base operator for fuel, ground transportation and flight planning at the airport. Last year, Sinclair Community College signed a three-year contract with MacAir to provide aviation students with fixed-wing ground and flight training instruction.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has also utilized the Greene County airport for training medical personnel, and the airport has hosted Air Camp, which teaches kids about aviation technology through STEM-focused activities.

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“We do have a healthy interest in basing aircraft at the airport,” Christensen said. “We are trying to support the Greene County community more broadly by some of the investments made here.”

Of the 50 hangars at the Greene County Airport, the Airport Authority rents 40 of these, and 10 are privately owned ‘condo’ hangars. Hangar rental rates range from $205-$270 a month. Tie-down rates are $8 for overnight, waived with a fuel purchase, or $50 monthly. The airport currently has a waiting list for rental spots, with an estimated three-year wait time for new requests.

Renovations to the facility are still in the design phase, Christensen said. Construction would begin once Air Force training programs are complete.

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