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Dunn County Commission tables airport runway funding

MANNING -- The Dunn County Commission decided Wednesday to table a decision, for the time being, on whether to put 20 percent down on building a new airport runway.

Having the county put down 20 percent of the cost of repairs is a requirement in order for the Dunn County Airport Authority to receive a grant from the State Aeronautics Commission, in which the state would pay 80 percent of the cost of the runway.

A final decision on funding by the commission should come next month.

"It's not that I'm not in favor of moving forward right now, but I want the commissioners to have time to think about it," said Commissioner Daryl Dukart.

In the meantime, Schollmeyer said the Airport Authority will decide how long of a runway will be sufficient.

"Right now, we have a 4,200-square-foot runway," Schollmeyer told the county commissioners Wednesday during the commission meeting at the Dunn County Courthouse. "Usually, runways at airports our size are 3,200 square foot, so we could scale the runway down.

Schollmeyer estimated that a 5,000-square-foot runway would cost the Airport Authority about $2.5 million to construct, but said the members of the authority did not think that large of a runway was necessary for Dunn County's needs.

"In talking with people, they don't think that that's the kind of runway we need and they want the airport like we had 20 years ago," he said.

Schollmeyer is the son of pilot Clarence Schollmeyer, who prior to his death in a November plane crash was spearheading the initiative to get the airport up and running after it was transferred back to the county.

Clarence Schollmeyer's Cessna 320 Skynight crashed during a test flight in Texas. Following his death, Mike Schollmeyer has helped see the airport project through.

Clarence Schollmeyer told The Dickinson Press last year that the airport was originally donated to the county by a former banker.

In the deed, it said that if the county ever decided not to operate it, they had to give it to the city of Killdeer. The airport went unused by the city and the county retook ownership of the airport last year.