The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport is slated to see more than $11 million in investment in the near future, with the majority of that money aiding the greater Dayton regional efforts of building up air mobility technology that could have a $13 billion in economic impact in Ohio.
The airport has also been awarded several federal grants that will go towards runway rehabilitation and other inastructure improvements. However, the lion share of recent federal investment will go towards the construction of the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence.
That estimated $8.2 million project will create a 30,000 square-foot building that will provide office and research space at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.
The project will be funded by a $6 million U.S. Department of Defense grant. The remaining money for the project will come from JobsOhio and the city of Springfield.
JobsOhio has previously put out a letter of support for the project that amounts to $2 million. However, the city will still have to go through the formal application process for that money, and the actual award amount may be less, said Tom Franzen, the assistant city manager and director of economic development for Springfield.
An additional $2.9 million from multiple grants from the Ohio Department of Transpiration and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration will go towards the resurfacing of the second runway at the airport as well as improvements to lighting and the purchase of a a zero-emission on-road airport vehicle, said Seth Timmerman, the airport’s manager.
Those infrastructure improvement projects will not only improve the airport but also aid companies and businesses that are located there.
But, the project to build the Air Mobility Center will have a larger regional impact as it will aid in the development of an industry that can lead to significant job growth and investment in the state as a whole.
The new building to be constructed will be used by the Air Force’s Agility Prime project, a $35 million program that was launched this year to create and accelerate a commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft.
At the same time, the Air Force is seeking to create a supply chain to support production of that type of aircraft.
Those efforts have seen money such as a $226,000 grant from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) being used for infrastructure work to support charging stations and flight simulators for that flight technology.
In addition to that, three private companies now have a presence at the Springfield airport in relation to that technology and a fourth is slated to come to the airport next month, said Micah Newburg, who is with the Dayton Development Coalition and deals with business development for aerospace and defense.
The new building as well as a hanger that will be adjacent to it at the Springfield airport will be utilized by both the Air Force and private industry as they conduct research and other work associated with electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL).
Construction on the new facility is slated to start in July 2022 and be completed by June of 2023.
“The economic potential is tremendous. Being in on the ground floor will position Springfield and the Dayton region to ensure that we can capture as much of that as possible,” said Franzen.
A recent report prepared for ODOT stated that advanced autonomous aircraft technologies and that industry in Ohio could create $13 billion in economic impact over a period of 20 years as well as create more than 15,000 jobs, providing $3 billion in tax revenues by 2045.
Newburg said that in the future, manufacturers in the greater Dayton region could be utilized to produce parts for that industry and in turn that would add to the economic impact.
As for other federal dollars going to the Springfield airport for different projects, $2.3 million is slated to go towards the secondary runway there as well as towards lighting improvements.
About $351,000 will go towards precision approach path indicators that will help provide guidance to pilots using the main runway and $234,000 for the construction of Taxi Way C at the airport.
A sum of $46,500 will be used for the purchase of the zero-emission on-road airport vehicle.