MANSFIELD – Federal money will enable the city to make desperately needed repairs to a runway at Mansfield Lahm Airport.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced more than $6.5 million in federal funding for Lahm.
About $5 million will be used to repave Lahm Runway 5-23, which is nearly 6,800 feet long and 150 feet wide.
“It has deteriorated to the point where it’s getting close to being closed,” airport manager Mark Daugherty said.
City Engineer Bob Bianchi put it another way.
“The runway has not been resurfaced in some time,” he said. “The airport manager has to mow portions of it, if that tells you anything.”
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration awarded the funding.
The money also will be used to demolish Taxiway C to improve safety and efficiency as well as to correct and replace airfield signs that do not meet FAA standards.
“This is a huge deal,” Daugherty said. “We’ve been working on this for probably close to two years.
“I can’t wait to get it started.”
Bianchi said bids for the project have been opened. He anticipates work will start in late summer.
Daugherty explained the other parts of the project.
“(Taxiway C) is a hot spot,” Daugherty said. “It intersects with two runways. You can’t do that.”
Daugherty said the airfield signs are distance-remaining markers.
“Some people call it distance-to-go markers,” he said.
Lahm Airport has a major economic influence on the area. The state’s draft report puts Lahm’s total at 2,202 jobs, amounting to an $89.6 million payroll.
That’s more than four times the number of jobs associated with the nine nearest, smaller airports across north central Ohio.
“Ohioans and visitors rely on Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport for travel, commerce and business,” Brown said in a news release. “This award will ensure that the airport has the infrastructure it needs to remain efficient and support its flight schedule.”