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Fort Dodge Regional Airport adds value to community

Runway project will keep the facility in good shape

Nothing feels better on dry, chapped skin than some lotion. It turns out the same basic principle works for airport runways as well.

Obviously, pavement doesn’t feel anything. But the application of material called an emulsion restores its surface, and it’s less expensive than repaving.

A project that applied an emulsion to both runways at Fort Dodge Regional Airport is winding down. Rhonda Chambers, the airport’s director of aviation, has compared the emulsion to lotion for pavement. The stuff seeps into the asphalt and restores it.

The city received a $616,500 federal grant to pay much of the $803,840 cost of the project. That’s a big price tag, but still less expensive than repaving.

So the airport will very shortly have two fully restored runways. That’s important to everyone in the community, even those that don’t fly.

Why? Because the airport has a $32 million annual economic impact. A lot of money comes into the community as a result of the airport’s presence.

And despite the high cost of projects necessary to keep the facilities in top shape, the city taxpayers get a pretty good bargain on running the airport. There are federal grants to help pay for the big projects. And in round numbers, the airport’s operating budget is about $650,000, but only about $270,000 comes from property taxes.

It’s worth remembering that the Fort Dodge Regional Airport has proven its value to the community.

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