A possible expansion is in the works for Airlake Airport in Lakeville.
The project would extend the 4,100-foot runway by about 1,000 feet to serve corporate jets and planes with heavier loads. The expansion also includes building hangars on the southern part of the reliever airport, which lies in Eureka Township.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission, which manages airports statewide, plans other expansions for reliever airports. Some are meeting resistance, but Lakeville officials hope an Airlake expansion will draw more business to the city.
The airport "is an economic tool for us and the community. We certainly think it would have great economic impacts for our community," Mayor Holly Dahl said.
Airlake Airport was built in 1969 as a private airfield. It became the MAC property in 1981. There were about 57,000 takeoffs and landings in 2005, which is the most recent recorded operations. The expansion likely would increase operations by 0.5 percent, or about 285 takeoffs and landings.
Today, the runway can handle takeoffs for aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds, including most single-engine and light twin-engine planes. But after the extension, it could accommodate aircraft weighing up to 16,000 pounds.
"Having an airport with a 5,000-foot runway provides certain opportunities," said Dave Olson, community and economic development director in Lakeville. "It's just one more advantage that we can offer to business and companies coming to Lakeville."
But hurdles mean the project could take 15 years to complete.
Funding for the $7 million expansion has yet to be earmarked, said Bridget Rief, MAC assistant director of airside development. Officials plan to ask for federal dollars. But new hangars could be reimbursed by purchasing tenants or paid for by a developer.
Also, the extension would require realigning Cedar Avenue. Land owned by Airlake Development Inc. east of Cedar Avenue might need to be acquired to do so, Olson said.
Another obstacle is providing sewer and water to proposed hangars on the southern part of the airport in Eureka Township. Lakeville officials said the city typically doesn't extend such municipal services beyond its boundaries.
"There would have to be an annexation. All parties would have to be in support of that," Dahl said. Also, installing city services would have to be funded by the commission, Dahl said.
Rief said annexing part of the township has not been discussed. "We'd like to think there's a way to work with the communities," Rief said. Other communities have reached service agreements to prevent annexation, she said.
Jeff Otto, a Eureka Township board member, said township officials would prefer MAC use city services instead of a septic system. The board hasn't discussed annexation.
"We're still willing to work with them," Otto said.
Township officials also are concerned about additional traffic on 225th Street West, a county gravel road that would be the primary access to the south expansion at the airport. Paving costs are not in the township's budget, Otto said.
MAC is reviewing comments for the final draft of the long-term airport plan.
Maricella Miranda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-228-5421.
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