Ben­tonville air­port gets new man­ager, money for taxi­way

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - ALEXAN­DER NI­COLL

BEN­TONVILLE — Change is com­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal air­port af­ter the City Coun­cil hired a man­ager and ap­proved money to com­plete the West Side Taxi­way Project on Tues­day night.

The air­port will have its first man­ager to over­see the daily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the air­port on an as-needed ba­sis af­ter the city hired Charles Chad­wick, an at­tor­ney based in Fayet­teville, to fill the po­si­tion.

Travis Mat­lock, the city’s en­gi­neer di­rec­tor, said this will be the first air­port man­ager since he be­gan work­ing for the city 10 years ago. Most of the du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the air­port have fallen to of­fi­cials in other de­part­ments over the years, such as the staff at­tor­ney or the en­gi­neer di­rec­tor.

“That’s not our pri­mary job func­tion,” Mat­lock said. “This air­port is grow­ing at such a pace that it needs some­one specif­i­cally ded­i­cated to see­ing to the day-to­day op­er­a­tions, the growth of the air­port, walk­ing through the fund­ing of Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion grants and all of the leg­work and pa­per­work that is re­quired of that.”

He said Chad­wick was the ob­vi­ous choice be­cause he al­ready was help­ing out at the

air­port, had an un­der­stand­ing of FAA reg­u­la­tions and a good work­ing re­la­tion­ships with many fixed-based op­er­a­tors in the re­gion.

“It was re­ally a no-brainer,” Mat­lock said.

The con­tract is good for one year and starts in Au­gust, but the city could re­tain him for an­other three years based on his per­for­mance. He’ll earn $ 5,000 a month with it com­ing out of the air­port bud­get, Mat­lock said.

One of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties he’ll have is to su­per­vise con­struc­tion of the taxi­way, which the city re­ceived all the money for at one time in­stead of in two stages as of­fi­cials thought it might have to be back in June.

“The FAA ac­tu­ally came back to us and said, ‘There were some other air­ports in the re­gion that did not meet their fund­ing re­quire­ments,’ so there was more money that be­came avail­able,” Mat­lock said. “They ac­tu­ally made the sug­ges­tion to us to redo our grant to cover the en­tire amount and they thought they could pass it through.”

Mayor Bob McCaslin said the FAA al­ready com­mit­ted to

pro­vide the rest of the money needed to close the re­main­ing gap, but the city would have to wait an­other year first.

“This is the best of all worlds,” McCaslin said.

The project will al­low hangars on the west side of the run­way to ac­cess it with­out hav­ing to go through the east side of the air­port.

It’ll cost just over $2.54 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a memo from Mat­lock to the coun­cil. Most of the money will come from a $ 2.27 mil­lion FAA grant and a state air­port grant to­tal­ing just over $250,000.

The city will in­cor­po­rate the re­main­ing $18,095 into it’s 2018 bud­get, Mat­lock said. It will go to­ward the part of the con­struc­tion that isn’t cov­ered by the FAA grant be­cause it didn’t meet cer­tain dis­tance re­quire­ments of the FAA.

Tri Star Con­struc­tion was awarded the con­tract work af­ter putting in the low­est bid of around $2.25 mil­lion. The cost will be cov­ered by the FAA grant.

The city also hired Garver LLC for con­struc­tion ser­vices, to­tal­ing $290,100, which will also be cov­ered by the grant.

The full taxi­way will go along the north­west side of the run­way and will cover

about 600 feet. The air­port has 14 hangars but al­most all are on the east side, which is near­ing ca­pac­ity. There’s only one hangar com­pletely built on the west side, but three are un­der con­struc­tion.

“The air­port mas­ter plan shows that we should be able to put quite a few more out there,” Mat­lock said.

He said con­struc­tion should start around the end of Au­gust and should be fin­ished by spring 2018.

“To be able to do this and have it funded in this mat­ter is a real bless­ing; it’s great,” McCaslin said.

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