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Airport Due To Receive Upgrade Funds
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Much needed improvements are coming to the Oakdale Municipal Airport courtesy of a Federal Aviation Administration grant.

According to Deputy Director of Public Works and Airport Manager David Myers, Donnelly Field is in need of repairs to its taxiway and some of its fencing. With the grant, which the city must contribute 10 percent matching funds, comes also the potential of a 5 percent match by the California Department of Transportation if funds are available.

Engineers estimate the total amount for the upgrades for the airport currently at $280,000. The total cost to the City of Oakdale will be no more than $28,000, and if the State is available to contribute, Oakdale’s cost is only $14,000. The city allotted $28,600 in this year’s budget for airport funding.

The consulting firm of Kimely-Horn and Associates designed the capital improvement plan and specifications for the work to be completed. The plan, which included the cost for new fencing along the perimeter and taxiway rehabilitation, was paid for by the FAA and Caltrans.

Myers said the amount paid to the consultant was “exorbitant” but was necessary due to the design required by FAA regulations and specifications. The cost of the study is paid for by the FAA.

The proposal moves the airport forward to the future and lays out a plan identifying existing and future facilities.

“If we can get a project listed on the airport layout plan, it basically ensures funding by the FAA,” said Myers.

Myers said that the airport receives $150,000 per year for improvement projects and the airport has not utilized any of the funding in recent years. He estimated about $600,000 is available in entitlements for the Oakdale Airport.

“Now that we’ve got a door opened and funding, we should have some projects,” said Myers. “It’s a good thing.”

During the July 16 city council meeting where the approval to move forward was made, Councilman Mike Brennan, who oversees the airport advisory commission, said he was committed to the continuation of the airport’s development and supports its “24/7” operation.

To satisfactorily meet the terms of the grant, the city must solicit bids for the fencing and taxiway project and receive them by Aug. 9, 2012.