Regional airport secures grant to acquire equipment.
Hazleton Regional Airport secured a $112,500 state grant on Thursday for buying maintenance equipment for the airfield, state and local officials said.
The grant represents the latest in a series of developments at the airport that includes expansion of a runway safety area and construction of a cell tower that will generate revenue for the facility, said Dominic Yannuzzi, a consulting engineer for the city.
City officials haven’t decided on the type of equipment the city will buy with the grant, with officials looking at prices, he said.
“We haven’t finalized the exact items yet,” he said. “We’re getting estimates now on equipment so we’ll know by early next year.”
Hazleton Regional was the lone Luzerne County airport to receive part of $6 million in state grants that were awarded for airport improvements in Pennsylvania, according to a news release issued by Gov. Tom Wolf ’s office. The money comes from the state’s tax on jet fuel and money from Pennsylvania’s Multimodal fund, with the latter created for funding transportation safety projects.
Airports in Carbon and Schuylkill counties also secured grants, with a $995,250 allocation awarded to Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Carbon County for renovating an aviation gas and jet fuel facility and $225,000 for an aircraft fueling truck at Schuylkill County’s Joe Zerbey Airport.
Hazleton Regional, meanwhile, continues operating as a “self-sufficient” airport, Yannuzzi said.
“We are continuing to maintain the airport and make improvements as funding allows,” Yannuzzi said.
Officials recently completed construction of a 101-foot safety zone at the eastern end of the airport property that extends the runway to 5,001 feet, Yannuzzi said.
The extension makes for safer conditions for larger aircraft and helps with insurance ratings, he said.
The city of Hazleton owns six of 16 hangars at the airport, with most filled to capacity, Yannuzzi said. Some space is available in the hangars for “a few smaller aircraft,” he said. Lehigh Valley Hospital’s Medevac air ambulance and an aircraft maintenance firm called Black Rock Aircraft Maintenance and Avionics lease hangar space, Yannuzzi said.
Construction of a Verizon cell tower at the northern part of the airport was completed last year while a $15 million state transit project will bring a facility for storing Hazleton Public Transit’s bus fleet to the airport land, Yannuzzi said.
Now that city officials know the amount of the latest airport grant, Mayor Jeff Cusat said that administrators will evaluate needs.
“We have a lot of needs up there with plow equipment, lawn mowers and general maintenance,” Cusat said. “We can start looking for pricing and try and prioritize and utilize the money accordingly.”
State reps. Gerald Mullery, Tarah Toohil and State Sen. John Yudichak announced the grant Thursday.
A $112,500 state grant secured by Hazleton Regional Airport will be used to buy equipment required for the airfield.