City approves applications for airport improvements

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Regional Airport's terminal building.

The Garden City Commission approved an application for federal assistance funds for the Garden City Regional Airport at the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday.

The funds, totaling $17,959,219, come from the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airport director Rachelle Powell said the CARES Act provided two funding sources for economic relief to airports.

First, the 2020 Airport Improvement Program share for federal projects increased. The airport’s split this year was a 95-5 split, with 5% being paid for by the city.

The CARES Act increased it to 100% federal funding.

Second, the CARES Act provided funds for economic relief for airports.

A formula was used to determine the amount, utilizing FAA commercial enplanement numbers and the 2018 financial report that the airport submits while factoring in the debt an airport had. The Garden City Regional Airport had no debt.

At this time, the funds can only be used for operation and maintenance costs, Powell said, but in a couple of months they can amend the grant to utilize the funds for development.

Powell said she hopes to utilize the funds then for the construction of a new airport terminal, which the airport began looking into in 2017.

After looking into the state of the current facility, current air service and federal design criteria including TSA, it was determined to be more cost effective to build a new terminal rather than rehabilitate the present one, Powell said.

“The original (terminal) was constructed in 1959 ... it’s far exceeded its lifespan,” she said. “Ultimately the current terminal will be completely demolished and a new terminal will sit approximately within the same location, but will have an expanded footprint.”

Additionally, the commission also approved a low bid from Hi-Lite Airfield Services for the Garden City Airport Improvement Program to remark the main runway and associated taxi-ways and to relocate two signs.

The commission also approved an application for federal assistance for the remarking project.

The project was bid at $469,408. It’s 100% funded by the AIP and the CARES Act.