Contractor Moving Earth from Dawn to Dusk
General contractor Emery Sapp and Sons began rolling up sod and moving earth earlier this week in preparation for the additional 1,000 feet of runway to come at North Central Missouri Regional Airport. A continuous procession of Caterpillar earth movers has been excavating what will be the north end of a 5,000 foot runway and depositing the dirt in a variety of locations along what will be the yet-to-be-named access road between U.S. Highway 36 and Jarboe Road. For the time being, that access roadway will continue to be referred to as the Yellow Brick Road. The existing access roadway will eventually be removed and replaced by a roadway paved with gravel, with the exception of the north end nearest to the AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System). The engineers and general contractor are making certain its north end will be paved so gravel dust doesn’t distort the AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System) readings that make for safer takeoffs and landings. The dust being raised by all of the heavy earth moving equipment had been rendering the AWOS readings unreliable, but yesterday’s rainfall reduced the dust problem considerably.
In the absence of further donations to help cover the local match ($72,683) required for acceptance of a $2.2 million grant that is funding the lion’s share of the runway extension project, the NCMRA Board is discussing how to cover short-term financial obligations. “I’m less concerned about our long-term financial obligations,” NCMRA Board Chairman Gary Carlson told the Board during Tuesday evening’s meeting. “Once we make our final payment on our Star loan, that will free up $3,000 every month.” Carlson then reminded the Board that together, the Cities of Brookfield and Marceline will continue to provide $90,000 annually for operating revenue. In terms of cash on hand, NCMRA is only about $1,000 short of covering the local match required for acceptance of the $2.2 million grant that is funding the runway extension.
One runway extension-related expenditure that was the object of some discussion during Tuesday’s Board meeting was the $25,850 in Wetland Mitigation Credits NCMRA will have to purchase to provide for the relocation and monitoring of a .47 acre wildlife habitat. That habitat is home to the endangered Indiana bat population, and its relocation and monitoring is required to receive federal funding. Trees slated for removal as part of the runway extension project can’t be cut down until Indiana bat nesting season concludes in November.
To cover the Airport’s short-term financial obligations, there was general agreement among the NCMRA Board members that “opening a line of credit” with a local financial institution would be the best solution.