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Airport gets more funds, manager

The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport has a number of significant changes ahead, including getting a new manager. The U.S. Department of Transportation will award $882,280 in grant funding to the airport, on top of the more than $1 mi...

The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport has a number of significant changes ahead, including getting a new manager.
The U.S. Department of Transportation will award $882,280 in grant funding to the airport, on top of the more than $1 million announced earlier this week for two improvement projects to expand the airport’s apron and runway, which have seen record traffic this year.
“This new grant for Dickinson’s Theodore Roosevelt Regional (Airport) is another important step in our ongoing effort to improve our state’s infrastructure in ways that will benefit our communities and businesses as we continue to grow our state’s economy and meet the needs of our residents,” Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement Thursday.
It isn’t the only change coming to the airport: after more than two months of searching for a new manager to replace Matt Remynse, who left in June, the airport authority have named North Dakota native Kelly Braun to the position. Braun, who currently serves as airport manager of Utah’s Canyonland Field, will take over for interim manager Ken Kussy in October.
Braun will be joining the airport at a crucial time. Airport administration is in the middle of preparing a 10-year master plan, at least two years ahead of normal schedule, airport authority chairman Jon Frantsvog said.
The late-in-the-season funding will go toward expanding the apron - where airplanes park - by 9,732 square yards, and increasing the airport’s runway safety area.
The plan is “all based around increased traffic,” he said.
“It’s not just airline traffic that’s spiking up - we already did an enlargement program on the ramp for commercial aircraft,” Frantsvog said. “We also have general aviation aircraft coming in in record numbers. Oil companies, commercial development companies, they’re flying corporate aircraft in.”
Frantsvog said he expects the projects will go to bid over the winter and break ground next spring. The almost $1.9 million in funding will cover about 90 percent of the two projects; the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission and the airport will split the rest of the cost.
“We will be applying for upwards of $10 million for the next phases in moving ahead,” Frantsvog said. “We’re busy planning for these projects even though the master plan’s not done to stay ahead of the curve.”
He said a visit to western North Dakota by FAA administrator Michael Huerta arranged earlier this year by Hoeven and Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has helped the airport in receiving needed grant money.
“The (Congressional) delegation became much more familiar the administrator, and he with them,” he said. “It was a major coup getting him out here.”

 

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