City plans to construct new fuel facility at airport
Director: 'People won't keep their aircraft here if they can't fuel up'
The City of Cassville is putting plans in place to construct a new fuel facility at the Cassville Airport.
The cost is estimated to total approximately $420,000, however, with a 90/10 matching grant program the city plans to utilize, the major project will only cost the city about $42,000.
"We're at the beginning of the project, and expect to be completed in 2018," said David Brock, public works director for the city. "The council approved the grant application [at the Dec. 11 meeting], so it's pretty certain we'll be able to acquire it."
The fuel facility has been in need of a major rehabilitation and upgrade due to its age, currently leaving no options for incoming pilots to refuel at the airport.
"The old tank was taken out of service earlier this year," he said. "The fuel tank, piping and dispenser were so old, it could not be insured without substantial upgrades.”
Currently, pilots must fly to a nearby airport, such as Monett, to refuel.
"It's quite an inconvenience," Brock said. "Those who are local know the [fuel] situation, but for those for whom Cassville is their destination for fishing at Roaring River, or who are stopping by on their way to somewhere else; the fuel situation is discouraging. Having the ability to refuel is important to operations there.”
According to Brock, the existing fuel tank will be replaced, along with a dispenser and all associated piping and electrical components.
A new card reader and 24-hour automated system will also be installed, making it convenient for pilots to refuel, as the airport is not manned 24/7.
The new facility is not only needed for practical and operational reasons, so that visiting and locally-based pilots can refuel, but will be a positive for the local economy, and tourism.
"The new facility will not be huge, but will have all of the modern conveniences our pilots would expect to find,” Brock said. “That's what makes the fuel facility so critical. People aren't going to keep their aircraft here if they can't fuel up. That's just a minimum service we have to be able to provide to keep those aircraft based here and keep those future funds coming."
Each year, MoDOT Aviation allocates $150,000 to the airport, Brock said. Those grant funds, or ‘non-primary entitlement program funds,’ for which airports must meet certain criteria, including demonstrating need and having a minimum number of aircraft, are earmarked specifically for major capital improvement projects, such as this one.
"We have to have a minimum of 10 based aircraft, and we have a dozen,” Brock said.
The program funds have a four-year life before expiring, and airports that qualify can bank the funds to complete large projects within that time period. They must be placed under subgrant within that period or expire.”
Of the $420,000 total, $378,000 includes program funds leftover from previous years, including $78,000 from 2015; $150,000 from 2017; and $150,000 from 2018, Brock said. The 2018 funds are based on the federal fiscal year which began in September.
“Of the $150,000 we get annually, there are some funds that haven’t been used, so we'll be drawing on three years of funds, and the budget is including the $42,000, which at 10 percent of the grant, leverages quite a bit of money," Brock said. "It's one of the better [grant] programs, as usually, they are 80/20 or 70/30 breakdowns.”