Airport takes step forward

June 19, 2007

Lake in the Hills trustees Thursday night signed off on one purchase of land essential to the village's multimillion-dollar airport expansion plan.

Trustees unanimously approved the $2.2 million acquisition of 38.3 acres just east of Pyott Road. The parcel is one of four needed for the $25 million airport expansion project.

The former quarry site, which the village will purchase from the Meyer Material Co. of McHenry, will accommodate the relocation of Pyott Road, said Airport Manager Dave Gregoria.

To comply with Federal Aviation Authority safety standards, Pyott Road must move about 300 feet east of its current location. The road also will lie about 12 feet lower at the section perpendicular to the runway, Gregoria said.

"This was the biggest piece of land we needed because moving Pyott Road was a runway safety issue," Gregoria said. "It was a glaring problem the FAA pointed out."

The airport must meet all Federal Aviation Authority guidelines and safety standards before the 2010 deadline, Gregoria said.

"We are on time, yes, but that depends on grants from the state and federal governments," Gregoria said.

"Since they supply the majority of money, we are at the mercy of them putting money aside for us."

Gregoria said in the past four years the village has received about $7.5 million in state and federal funding.

The federal government will foot 95 percent of the project costs, with the state and village responsible for 2 1/2 percent each.

The village is negotiating with the two of the three remaining land owners, with the goal of finalizing acquisitions before the end of the year, Gregoria said.

Future improvements include shifting the taxiway, as well as relocating and widening the runway from 50 feet to 100 feet.

Since the airport was built in 1957 for private use, Gregoria said it was not required to meet the same standards as a public airport.

But that changed in the mid-80s when the village entered into a purchase agreement with Material Service Corp. and overtook operations.

According to state figures, the Lake in the Hills Airport performs about 60,000 operations - or takeoffs and landings - each year.

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