S.D. Airport Applying for Federal Grant

With grant applications due April 22, the Aberdeen Regional airport may know by the end of July whether it has been selected for $500,000 in federal money.

Dave Osborn, city transportation director, told the airport board Thursday that he has already received endorsement letters from both U.S. Senators and and Rep. Stephanie Herseth, as well as Gov. Mike Rounds.

Perhaps the biggest news Osborn had for the board was that Sioux Falls, which beat Aberdeen out for last year's grant, will not be applying this year.

Osborn added that because Sioux Falls is not applying, it had decided to endorse Aberdeen for the 2005 award.

Each year the federal government gives out 40 small community air service development grants to help smaller airports improve their services.

In 2004, the Hub City applied for $550,000 to help woo a second commercial air carrier.

Sioux Falls received the grant for the second straight year in 2004, and Aberdeen was forced to change its strategy.

For the 2005 round of grants, representatives of the city, airport board, and local corporations met with Northwest Airlines officials last month to seek a partnership in the grant process.

The hope is to use the grant funds to secure jet service on at least one flight a day to Aberdeen if the feds OK the Hub City for a grant.

Northwest agreed to partner on the grant application, but made no promises on jet service.