City breaks ground on Runway 18/36 project
The city of Concordia and the Airport Advisory Board broke ground on the Runway 18/36 project at Blosser Municipal Airport, during a ceremony Friday afternoon.
Included in the project is the construction of a longer and wider Runway 18/36, the conversion of Runway 17/35 into a parallel taxiway, the installation of new runway and taxiway lighting, precision approach path indicator lights, wind cone and segmented circle at the airport.
“Runway 18/36 will help to grow our local economy and improve safety for those utilizing the airport,” Concordia city manager Amy Lange said, during the ceremony.
Lange said that the new longer, wider runway will allow larger airplanes to take off and land at the airport, thereby allowing existing businesses in Concordia to expand, and provide safer operations for air ambulances.
The Runway 18/36 project is being funded through a $6.95 million grant awarded to the city of Concordia through the supplemental appropriation to the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program, as authorized through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. No local match is required for the grant.
Blosser Municipal Airport is one of three airports in Kansas to receive funding during the second round of funding announcements.
Concordia also received $567,000 in entitlement funding from the United States Department of Transportation to construct lighting on the taxiway and to seal the taxiway pavement and joints at the airport.
In May, the Concordia city commission approved authorizing Lange to enter into a contract with Vogts-Parga Construction, LLC, Newton, for the Runway 18/36 project, at a cost of $5,205,308.66.
There were six bids submitted for the project, and Vogts-Parga Construction was the low bidder.
It is anticipated that the project will be completed in the fall of 2021.
“The dedication and persistence of leaders in the Concordia community have allowed the airport to grow and support the local and regional economy since Blosser Field was first formed into a municipal airport in 1946. They had a vision and worked systematically through generations, through the use of the airport master planning process, to bring each component to fruition. Runway 18/36 was included in this vision in the 2013 update of the 2010 Airport Master plan that highlighted the possibility of a new hospital next to the airport. Nearly a decade later, not only is Runway 18/36 being constructed, but so is a brand new medical facility being constructed right across the street,” Lange said.
Lange thanked everyone, past and present, for their work to propel Blosser Municipal Airport forward.
Among the guests speaking at the ceremony were United States Senator Jerry Moran; United States Congressman Roger Marshall, Kansas District 36 Senator Elaine Bowers, Kansas 107th District Representative Susan Concannon and Bob Brock, director of aviation for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
“I am pleased to see one more piece of evidence that the leaders and citizens of Concordia, and Cloud County, have come together on a project that will make a difference,” Moran said.
Moran said that what stood out to him was the fact that the community leaders found this project so important, not only for the benefits today, but what could be accomplished in the future.
“You have demonstrated your commitment to the future,” Moran said. “This symbolizes that the necessary kind of people live here, work here, lead here, to see Concordia as having a bright future.”
Marshall talked about the important role the new longer and wider runway will play in being able to transport hospital patients who are in critical condition.
“Too many times I sat in an emergency room, with my finger in the dike, so to speak, waiting for the fog to lift or the wind to set in Kansas so we could get a helicopter in there, and a fixed wing came in to save the day for us,” Marshall said. “What this longer, more broad runway will do is to allow that fixed wing, a bigger fixed wing, in here to get our folks from Cloud County to a tertiary care center sooner.”
Bowers provided a history of Blosser Municipal Airport to those attending the ceremony.
“I love history, and the spot right here where we are standing is so interesting,” Bowers said. “A vote by the people of Concordia, in 1945, set the project in motion by a four to one margin, a new $100,000 bond for Blosser Field.”
Bowers also said there are 31 items on the airport capital improvement plan vetted by the Federal Aviation Administration, and all of them will be met with the completion of the Runway 18/36 project.
Concannon said that from the time of the first meeting with the Kansas Secretary of Commerce on the project she knew that the runway project was going to be approved.
“When we were having those conversations I knew this was something that was going to happen because of the amount of energy that was in that group, and desire,” Concannon said, “so I really want to congratulate the entire community, especially Amy (Lange) and her team, for being able to get this across the line.”