Chamber: ‘Local Airport Critical for Economic Development’
July 3, 2019
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  • A spark of entrepreneurial spirit generated by the late Niederhauser brothers of Marshalltown 90 years ago continues to receive support from modern-day Marshalltown city councilors.

    At the June 24 meeting, councilors approved two engineering service agreements with local firm CGA, which moves Marshalltown Municipal Airport/Niederhauser Field one step closer to having an improved runway, a larger hangar and a new terminal building.

    Specifically, councilors approved agreements of $54,100 for airport terminal building and runway approach paving, a $59,458 agreement for hangar improvements and a resolution approving the public works department staff to file a $62,000 application with the Federal Aviation Administration to help pay for hangar engineering services.

    The city is required to make a 10 percent contribution to that application. The hangar will measure 120 feet by 100 feet with a 25-foot door. This would allow for the overnight storage of larger airplanes used by local and area corporations Emerson Process Management, JBS, Lennox and others.

    Attached to the hangar would be a terminal building for airport operations. Fourth Ward Councilor Al Hoop said he was in favor or a new hangar but against a new terminal building. Consequently, he voted no, making the vote 5-1 (with one councilor absent) on the $54,100 engineering services resolution.

    On past airport resolutions passed by the council, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Economic Development Tom Deimerly has been thrilled with their strong support.

    “In today’s business climate, air travel is becoming increasingly prevalent as companies become more regional and national in nature,” he said. “It is critical for our local airport to have the necessary infrastructure to meet the ever-changing needs which is why it’s great to have a long-term plan for this critical economic development tool.”

    Marshalltown Aviation co-owner Steve Valbracht echoed Deimerly’s comment.

    “(The council’s decision) will allow the Marshalltown airport to accommodate larger corporate aircraft,” he said. It is an economic development plus for the city.”

    Other improvements have been made since Valbracht and partner Ethan Nasalroad — who

    manages the Newton airport — took over 10 years ago.

    New instrument approaches to both sides of the airport’s primary runway installed several years have paid huge dividends, Valbracht said.

    The approaches take advantage of newer GPS technology allowing pilots to navigate to the runway while also giving the pilot a vertical path to follow, he said. These approaches lower the height to which an aircraft can fly without first seeing the ground. Also, by providing an instrument-guided path on which to descend, the aircraft are in a better position to see the runway during poor weather. Also available is a weather computer,

    ground power unit and de-ice equipment.

    Brothers Ben, Bob, Bud, Glen and Harry Niederhauser put Marshalltown on the aviation world map, planting the seeds for Marshalltown Aviation, which carries their torch nine decades later.

    For more information, contact 641-752-0012 or visit miwairport.com.