Decatur Airport May See Funds Propelled Its Way

Mar. 16--DECATUR -- More money should be coming into Decatur Airport starting in June.

On Wednesday, Airport Director Gene Marcinkowski asked park board members to approve an application to send to the Federal Aviation Administration for Decatur's airport to receive a passenger facility charge.

Marcinkowski said, for example, American Connections usually charges a $4 passenger facility fee per person flying out of Decatur to St. Louis and on to another destination.

Now, the $4 passenger facility charge for a flight out of Decatur will go to the airport. Airports use these fees to fund FAA-approved projects.

Marcinkowski said a new federal program is making it easier for airports like Decatur to receive the money. He said if 10,000 passengers fly during the year then $40,000 goes to the airport.

"If we don't collect it, we are only losing out," he said.

Team Decatur, made up of community leaders and state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, are planning to tour the airport and UPS facility on Saturday.

"The airport provides opportunities for not only residents in our area but from an economic business standpoint," Flider said. "I am leading a coalition of downstate legislators in Springfield in achieving a level of funding to help in the operational and capital needs of all our downstate airports."

While the airport has proven vital to the community, so has the Decatur Park District, which is considered one of the best in the state, judging by a recent award.

Ted Flickinger, president of the Illinois Association of Park Districts, traveled to Decatur to present the park district with the "Distinguished Agency Award." He said only 34 other park districts have ever received the prestigious award since its inception in 1994.

"It didn't happen overnight, but the Decatur Park District continues to grow and get better," Flickinger said. "For a community of its size, it has the golf courses and well-maintained facilities and continues working closely with schools and businesses. It's an outstanding agency."

Flickinger also recognized park board President Chris Riley for receiving the "Rising Star Award".

He also presented park board Commissioner Don Luy with a plaque for 10 years of service on the board.

"It's been a good district. I like the fact that we weren't stagnant when it came to building the DISC and a new golf course," said Luy, referring to the Decatur Indoor Sports Center and the newly constructed Red Tail Run Golf Course designed by Raymond Floyd.

Sheila Smith can be reached at sheilas@; or 421-7963.