Winona gets ready for $12 million airport reconstruction project
May 21, 2013
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  • A $12 million project to upgrade the Winona Municipal Airport could begin as early as this fall if federal funding comes through.

    The Winona City Council voted Monday to finalize design services for the project and directed staff to advertise for a contractor to initiate construction as soon as funding becomes available.

    Airport improvements would include a reconstruction of the main runway, additional lighting and navigational tools, and construction of a partial taxiway. The project will improve the facility’s safety, primarily by extending an area at the end of the main runway to meet federal standards.

    “If this project didn’t proceed, I think it would be the beginning of the death of the airport,” said assistant city manager for public works Keith Nelson. “We need to improve the landing system.”

    State and federal funding will cover 90 percent of the costs, and the city will sell bonds to pay for its $1.2 million portion. The design phase of the project was approved in November 2011, and the city will use money from the facilities fund to cover the $475,000 engineering design fee. The Federal Aviation Administration will reimburse the city for up to 95 percent of that amount — again, as if Congress approves funding.

    When construction begins, it will continue for three years.

    In other council news:

    The city announced a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting for the 2011 fiscal year. The award is the highest level of recognition for financial reporting and just more than 10 percent of Minnesota cities receive the honor each year.

    The council agreed to partner with Winona County in an effort to make law enforcement data available across the region’s municipalities. The county will cover all costs for the program, though the city will need to contribute staff time to implement the new system, which would allow law enforcement to more quickly communicate and share case updates, investigation data and more.