Plans are in the making for the construction of a taxiway at the Smithville Municipal Airport.
The Aldermen Monday night approved a request by Airport Manager Wes Nokes to apply for another aeronautics grant through the Tennessee Department of Transportation to acquire property adjacent to the airport for the project. If approved, the grant would be 95% funded. The city's matching portion would only be five percent or around $6,600.
"I have just come here tonight to ask your permission to apply for a grant for property purchase for the airport. This will serve in allowing us to build our full length parallel taxiway. It's between six and seven acres total. It basically amounts to a long narrow strip and moving a fence in order to meet our safety distances. The total cost for this project is going to be between $135,000 and $140,000. The variation would be for appraisals and that sort of thing. It will cost the city five percent which will be around $6,600," said Nokes.
"The FAA has mentioned for several years that the biggest safety issue we have is that we don't have a taxiway. Currently, when our planes depart they have to pull out onto the runway and taxi down the runway to either end. There is always a risk of somebody not seeing you and then coming in and landing and hitting you head on. This will prepare us to build that parallel taxiway. This is the first step in meeting that by acquiring this property," he said.
"We're at the point now where the FAA wants us to fix this major safety issue before they give us any more money (grants) in the future for revenue producing projects, such as building T-hangars and that sort of thing. They have been very generous over the last few years in giving us as much money as they have but they have reached a point where they're saying we've got to take care of our housekeeping before we give you anything else to make money with, "added Nokes.