KALAMAZOO, MI — Four months after the plan was first presented to Kalamazoo County commissioners, the board is expected to approve a 68.7 acre expansion to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Airport Tuesday with the assistance of $1.16 million in federal funds.
While a use for the two parcels, which sit adjacent to the airport’s southwest quadrant, hadn’t been decided in August, acting airport director David Reid said designs to build general and corporate aviation hangars were outlined in a purchase plan required by the Federal Airport Administration, although it hasn’t been decided how many hangars will be constructed.
“This growth will assist the needs of the aviation community in the area, as well as assist in diversifying the airport’s revenue stream,” Reid said in a statement to the county board.
Reid also said the airport will have the option to allow for general aeronautical work, such as manufacturing airplanes, to be done on the land.
The parcels, owned by Pfizer, Inc., have a total value of $1.29 million, Reid said. Ninety percent of the cost ($1.16 million) will be covered by a Federal Airport Administration grant, 5 percent ($64,500) will come from the airport’s capital fund and the remaining 5 percent will come from state funding.
The purchase was approved by the Kalamazoo County Aeronautics Board in August and the airport had hoped to present it to the county board of commissioners for approval not long after, but the FAA required an updated appraisal of the land, which delayed final approval until now, Reid said.
The aeronautics board first considered purchasing the parcels in 2011. After discussions with Pfizer, the board learned the company was willing to sell not only the two parcels identified, but two additional adjacent parcels that border Portage Road.
However, while the airport was interested in all four parcels, federal money was only available for two, leading it focus on the two adjacent to the airport.
“I would have really liked to have gotten all four of them, but probably it makes sense to get the two that are most important for the airport right now because we can’t afford to spend our capital money that we have planned for other things for the airport,” said county commissioner David Buskirk in August, who serves as a liaison to the aeronautics board.
Because the 2013 grant cycle has passed and the federal funds won’t be available until next year, Pfizer has agreed to wait until the summer of 2014 to accept payment for the land.