LIMA — The Allen County Regional Airport Authority sees Allen County’s airport as a vital economic asset for the county in general, and Perry Township in particular.
“Last year, Rudolph Foods wanted city water, and that was done with the help of the airport and other people,” Airport Authority President Jon Neuman said. “This opens up development for the Regional Planning Commission. We believe that Perry Township is the most logical place to come if you’re seeking to develop a business in the Lima area. This is the area being developed.”
The Lima Allen County Airport serves in a different capacity than commercial airports, providing not only private pilots, but also corporate executives, a small, more local aviary destination, avoiding the hassles of larger commercial destinations.
“It is an executive jet-type airport that can serve businesses far better than commercial airports can,” Neuman said. “Executives don’t drive down. They come in by plane and they sometimes want to be unnoticed while they’re here.”
The airport sits on 640 acres of commericially zoned land, which, along with the additional water service, could be excellent for development, Neuman said.
“This is a gem in the rough,” he said. “We’re in a position to attract business here.”
However, to remain a viable part of the area’s economic development, the airport is looking for grants to build a storage facility for its snow removal equipment along with rehabilitating its 6,000-foot runway. The airport board is in the process of applying for grants from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the Ohio Department of Transportation. Both of those grants offer 90 percent funding, with the other 10 percent to be secured locally.
To that end, the airport is looking to county commissioners for help, with almost $69,000 needed for the storage building grant and $22,500 needed for the runway grant.
“Any time you have a chance for 90 percent funding, you have to jump on that,” Neuman said.
Commissioners are considering the proposal, with representatives from the airport authority scheduled to meet with them for discussions Thursday. No timetable had yet been set for reaching a decision.