Written by Linda Martz News Journal
MANSFIELD — Mayor Tim Theaker said the city will get bids lined up ahead of time for a $6 million project to repave Lahm Airport’s second longest runway, ahead of a federal release of funding likely to occur in 2015.
Runway 5-23, which is 6,795 feet long and 150 feet wide, has not had a major repave since 1983.
Theaker said the FAA, which has approved funding the project, made tacit statements to local officials hinting the runway might need to be shut down if too much more time elapsed before repaving.
“It’s useable,” but is threaded with cracks which have allowed grass to grow in places, he said. “It does need to be renovated.”
Mansfield City Engineer Robert Bianchi told city council last month it seemed likely the runway could be resurfaced in 2015.
The Federal Aviation Administration will fund 90 percent of the project, leaving the city to come up with 10 percent, or $592,745, Bianchi said.
“If we didn’t commit our portion for the match and send them a letter committing to it, it would not be put on the slate for the (FAA’s) 2015 fiscal year,” Theaker said.
Since the FAA’s fiscal year doesn’t start until July, the funds may not come in until midway through 2015, the mayor said.
Still, city officials intend to take bids and line up a contractor in advance of when the federal money comes in, “so we can move forward right away,” Theaker said.
City officials worked with State Rep. Mark Romanchuk and the Ohio Adjutant General’s office to obtain a $100,000 state capital grant as part of the local share. The city also will be allowed to apply a $94,551 carryover from previous project funding provided through the adjutant general, they said.
Bianchi said in June that $227,880 in reimbursement by the FAA for work the city did last year to improve the airport’s apron also could be used toward the local match. Also, $161,709 previously set aside by the city as local match dollars, but which went unused after other grant projects came in under budget, could be applied to the local match.
The city engineer said he expected bids to come in somewhere lower than the $5,927,453 estimate.
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