The Wetumpka Municipal Airport is looking to improve its nearly 15-year-old lighting system it uses to direct local planes.
On Monday, the Wetumpka City Council approved two resolutions for the airport administration to apply for grants through the Airport Improvement Program, which is administered through the Federal Aviation Administration.
“This is just the time of year when we ask the council to approve the applications we submit to ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) and FAA,” airport director Lynn Weldon said.
Specifically, there are two applications being submitted: one is for a project estimated at over $440,000 to improve the lights along the runway and taxiway, while the other is to simply improve the lighting along the runway for approximately $230,000.
Weldon said that while she prefers that the runway and taxiway project be approved, she submitted the runway-only project just in case.
“Either way, it is taking our old lighting system and putting in a new LED system, which is more cost effective,” Weldon said.
Weldon said that with the age of the lighting equipment at the airport, it is important to work on it before issues arise.
“Anytime you get a system that has aged that much, you want to look at revamping it because when something goes on electrically, they could all go out so we have to be proactive,” she said.
Through each grant, the city would only pay for a certain portion of the project while the state and government pay for the rest. For example, with the $443,000 grant being sought, the city of Wetumpka would only pay approximately $22,176 toward the project.
Weldon said AIP grants have greatly improved the airport over the years with one example being the fence that encircles the property, which was done over a three-year period and three different grants. Currently, a drainage improvement project is being done at the airport as part of its 2015 grant project.
If approved, work on the lighting system could start in November 2016.
Additionally, the council also had a first reading of a proposed ordinance amendment that would allow citizens and taxpayers from outside city limits to address the council at meetings. As the ordinance currently stands, only those residing within city limits can address the council at meetings.
“I’m not giving their permission to vote, but certainly, we want to be inclusive and that is the goal,” council member Percy Gill said, who is sponsoring the amendment.
According to the proposed amendment, the council has allowed people from outside city limits to talk from time to time. Mayor Jerry Willis said that in most cases, it was because a specific person may serve on a board or committee.
The council will consider amending the ordinance at its next meeting.
In other business, the council also gave permission to the Order of Cimarron to hold a Mardi Gras celebration at Gold Star Park on Feb. 6. The group has held the celebration in Wetumpka for three years.