A grant of up to $2,983,069 from the Missouri Department of Transportation is reimbursing some land acquisition costs at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield.
The grant, through the Missouri Highways and Transportation Airport Aid Agreement, will reimburse part of the purchase price for eight acres along the taxiway at the airport, 18270 Edison Ave.
The airport bought the land in 2011. Five of the acres are the last undeveloped land in the area of the main taxiway. The three acres is occupied by a large corporate aircraft hangar, office, a parking lot and an aircraft ramp.
Buying property inside the airport boundaries is unusual, but the 1,250-acre airport was built in 1964 as a private airport and bought in 1980 by the county. After the purchase some corporations continued to own hangars and buildings on the property, which is why the airport found itself buying property inside its boundaries, said John Bales, director of aviation for the county-owned airport, said.
The five acres with its hangar and buildings was put up for sale, but the owners were unable to find a buyer, Bales said.
“I had it reappraised, and we got it at a lower price than what the owners originally were asking, not knowing that the land would be eligible for any grant money,” he said.
Bales said Spirit wanted to control any ground that has access to the taxiway, to ensure airport rules and regulations are in place.
Bales discovered the airport was eligible for the grant because a good portion of the land sits in a so-called building restriction line area , which means that private land owners can’t build on it because of airport height restrictions to protect taxiways and runways.
The grant became available to Spirit unexpectedly because another MoDOT aviation project fell through, Bales said.
That grant money is out of a trust fund, using money paid in from jet fuel taxes by users of airports statewide, Bales said.