Silver Bay considers options for closed airport
Jun 18, 2018 07:18AM ● Published by Editor
By Jamey Malcomb of The Duluth News Tribune on June 17, 2018
The Silver Bay City Council met Wednesday with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Minnesota Department of Transportation Department of Aeronautics regarding options for the now-shuttered Wayne Johnson Silver Bay Municipal Airport.
MnDOT ordered the airport closed May 31 after a routine inspection found the deteriorated runway had become a safety concern. The airport has just five airplanes hangared there; two are rented by Silver Bay residents.
FAA Dakota-Minnesota Airports District Manager Andy Peek and MnDOT Office of Aeronautics Director Cassandra Isackson presented several options for the council to consider: closing the airport permanently; reconstructing the runway pavement; possibly converting it to a grass or gravel runway; or even turning it over to the county or other entity to manage.
Isackson told the board that closing the airport is an option. MnDOT has an established process for closing an airport, but such a move could prove costly for the city.
Over the years, Silver Bay has accepted grants totaling more than $2 million from the FAA and MnDOT. The grants include "grant assurances" from Silver Bay that stipulate the city keeps the airport in good repair for a specific time frame after the grant is awarded.
If the airport is closed, Peek estimates Silver Bay could owe approximately $170,000 based on assurances that haven't expired yet. Isackson estimated the bill for MnDOT to be around $10,000.
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