Jun. 1—CHELAN — The Lake Chelan Airport is another step closer to its $8.1 million water extension project, set to start this month and finish by the end of the year. The project is considered a necessary layer to keep the airport on track with its additional runway project.
The city of Chelan, the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority and Chelan County each chipped in $666,000 in 2022 to bundle with the state allocated $5.7 million pot on the water extension project. The proposed work includes 5.8 miles of pipe from the Wilmorth Reservoir overflow to the airport for fire flow and future potential hangar tenants. The port and city of Chelan are joint owners of the airport.
"The regional port allocated these dollars during the adoption of our 2023 budget," wrote Jim Kuntz, Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority CEO in an email. "The money will carry forward to future years until it gets completed."
According to Chelan Mayor Bob Goedde, even with the state funds and divvied-up funding across the trio of local entities; there was still a roughly $1 million gap to close on the water extension project.
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"(Rep.) Mike Steele was able to obtain a clearance from (the state Department of) Commerce to allow us to start and then they will finish off whatever it takes to finish the project out of next year's (2024) budget," Goedde said.
The city will begin the project when Department of Commerce sends a notice, "hopefully very soon," this month, Goedde wrote in an email.
The city of Chelan has been mapping out a plan to run more water to the airport for over half a decade. After recent legislative session language forecasted state funding for the waterline extension project, the city of Chelan is preparing to start construction for the project in 2023, according to port commissioner Richard DeRock.
"I had a conversation with Mayor Goedde... council has approved awarding a contract for the (waterline extension) development this year," DeRock said at the May 23 board meeting. "They're going to cover the unfunded portion and they've gotten Rep. Steele to agree it will be a reimbursement."
Increased airplane traffic coupled with a $24 million runway extension project on the books accelerated the push for more water. Chelan City Council approved an airport layout to lengthen the runway for more types of airplanes and additional hangars in fall 2021.
The runway project is anticipated to be 90% covered with a Federal Aviation Administration grant and 5% with Washington State Department of Transportation grant. The remaining 5% of the $24 million bucket will be split with the city and the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority.
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