Dickinson Considers Ford Airport Renovation | News, Sports, Jobs
IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County will consider a renovation of Ford Airport’s Fontana Terminal, agreeing Wednesday to hire a consultant to assess the current facility and future needs.
An expansion will likely be needed if the airport is to accommodate larger planes, controller Brian Bousley said.
The county council has asked airport manager Tim Howen to sign a study contract with civil engineers Prein & Newhof of Grand Rapids. The $140,000 cost will be paid for with federal funds and a final report is expected within seven months.
SkyWest Airlines has been the essential air service carrier at Dickinson County Airport since December 2012, operating under an EAS contract that provides an annual federal subsidy of up to $3,868,146.
A total of 15,235 passengers boarded commercial flights at Kingsford in 2021 – below the record 22,980 in 2019 but comfortably above the 10,000 threshold needed to be a primary airport in Federal funding categories Aviation Administration. Under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, major airports are eligible for a minimum of $1 million per year for capital needs.
Skywest, operating as a Delta carrier, uses 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet 200 aircraft for all daily flights to Detroit or Minneapolis-St. Paul.
In other airport operations, the board authorized the purchase of snow removal equipment from the lowest bidder, MB Companies Inc. of Chilton, Wisconsin, for $841,525. The equipment – a truck with broom – can be obtained with AIP law funds.
Prein & Newhof is overseeing the purchase in consultation with state and federal transportation officials.
“This piece of machinery keeps us open,” Bousley said.
In other actions, the council:
– Heard Bousley report that an engineering firm’s inspection of the courthouse clock tower revealed no serious issues, but two more reviews will be sought to confirm the findings. County officials had been concerned about a slight separation on the stairs, but inspection showed “it’s not getting away from the building,” Bousley said. After an analysis by UP Engineers & Architects of Iron Mountain in 2015, the county contracted FA Industrial of Iron River for a $124,000 project to stabilize the 126-year-old structure.
– Learned from Sheriff Scott Rutter that the Sheriff’s Work Van has resumed service, providing assistance to local nonprofits and government agencies in conjunction with the Corrections Division and District Court. Operations had been suspended for the past two years due to the pandemic. “It’s been very busy” Rutter said. “I don’t foresee it stopping anytime soon. It works well.
— Approved the Dickinson County Planning Commission’s new master plan survey. The results will help the county develop its vision, goals and objectives for the next five years, Commissioner Barbara Kramer said. The survey will be posted on https://www.dickinsoncountymi.gov/ and made available on other sites. Completed surveys will be due July 22.