Silver Bay council turns down airport grant requestThe grant request to help build a new arrival and departure building at the Wayne Johnson/Silver Bay Municipal Airport may not be finding its way to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year.
By: Forrest Johnson, Lake County News Chronicle
The grant request to help build a new arrival and departure building at the Wayne Johnson/Silver Bay Municipal Airport may not be finding its way to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year.
Supporters had hoped the city would approve a plan to look for bids for the project as a part of the grant, though that process wasn’t meant to lock the city into the project.
The May 1 FAA deadline for grant requests is fast approaching and the Silver Bay City Council on Monday night voted down the grant request by a 3-2 margin.
The estimated $236,000 project was aimed at building a new 20’X30’ building that would replace the aging building now at the site. The building isn’t in compliance with local zoning regulations and has also had ongoing septic issues.
Last year, the airport commission and the non-profit Friends of North Shore Aviation group looked at the matching FAA grant program that could be utilized to complete the project. Under the grant, if approved, the FAA would fund 95 percent of the costs and the remaining 5 percent match would have to be provided by the city.
The grant request was turned down nearly a year ago as well.
The non-profit group offered last year to raise the city’s portion of the funds. They had continued to raise funds over the past year and the city insisted on an escrow agreement targeting the funding for the city match. The council had hoped to have the agreement in hand for their March 2 meeting but that timeline wasn’t met. On Monday, Pete Morris of the city attorney’s office said that the escrow agreement provided by the group looked to be in order, meaning that at least $10,000 would be available to cover the city’s portion of the project.
The council and the city’s airport commission held a special meeting about the issue last week but they obviously hadn’t come to an agreement at that time.
At issue for several councilors, including Pat Kelley, Steve Marolt and Carlene Perfetto, were the ongoing future maintenance and capitol costs for the city at the airport. In previous meetings, the councilors had asked that consideration be made to downsize the project. In the past, Kelley and Marolt had suggested to the council that the project should include specs to remove the old building, septic and storage vaults rather than leave those costs to be determined later.
During Monday’s meeting, to open the issue for discussion, Perfetto supported the motion offered by councilor Dave Gustafson to back the project. Kelley said he was disappointed that the commission hadn’t looked more seriously at downsizing the building. Gustafson made the point that the inside dimensions of the building were smaller than 20’X30’.
“We’ll see where we go from there,” said Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson.