By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian
---- — Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack Wednesday afternoon toured the Centerville Municipal Airport and discussed the $439,002 Federal Aviation Administration grant the airport was recently awarded.
The money will be used to acquire 47 acres of land the FAA says is needed to preserve the runway protection zone.
Centerville’s 10 percent match of the grant comes to $48,778.
Jay Rogers, Airport Commission chairman, said the land the airport acquired is on the south and north end of the runway. He said all the FAA required before was an easement on the property; now they want airports to own the property that is within 200 feet of the runway center line.
Loebsack said when local communities in his district submit grant applications, he does what he can do to support those applications.
“I think that’s what I should be doing as a congressman,” Loebsack said. “So if local communities ask me to help I’ll be more than happy to help and that’s what I’m doing in this case.”
Loebsack said he was happy to be in Centerville to see what the more than $400,000 FAA grant was going towards.
“I understand how important aviation is,” Loebsack said. “I understand how important this is for a community like Centerville that is struggling to get back on its feet. Especially after Rubbermaid left and the economic downturn and all the rest. You need help and this is one way to do it.”
Loebsack said an airport helps attract business, economic development and people to an area.
“And I know it’s going to help the community,” Loebsack said. “It’s going to help the community in terms of economic development. It’s going to help the community in terms of jobs. And that’s absolutely critical.”
Patrick Antonen, Centerville city administrator, thanked Loebsack for visiting the airport to see the improvements being done.
“This is huge, for what we’re trying to become,” he said.
Jan Spurgeon, mayor, thanked Loebsack for his help in securing the FAA grant.
“This is just fabulous,” she said. “We appreciate it so much and anything else that you can do.”
Approximately 30 attended the congressman’s airport tour and included county and city employees, business people, residents and local media.
Before Loebsack left he was given an ariel tour of the Centerville Municipal Airport.