Mesa County approves airport grant funds

Mesa County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to accept a $3.7 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to complete the first phase of terminal building construction at Grand Junction Regional Airport.

The Grand Junction City Council voted to accept the grant Sept. 4. Both boards had to accept the grant and sign a co-sponsorship agreement with the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority before Thursday or face losing the grant.

Airport Director of Aviation Rex Tippetts told commissioners Monday the grant will pay for the airport to construct a three-story terminal building that will include an airport firefighting services and rescue bay, a board/community room and offices. Due to space constraints, airport administration employees currently work in rental space near the airport, according to grant documents. The grant will allow them to move back to campus into the new building, which will be located on the east side of the airport campus.

The existing terminal at Grand Junction Regional Airport is 31 years old. An Airport Authority study conducted in 2011 found it would cost $5.5 million to continue to maintain and improve the existing terminal. Airport Authority members decided at that point it would be less costly to replace the terminal.

The office of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., announced last month Grand Junction Regional Airport was one of eight regional airports selected in Colorado to receive federal grant funding. Denver International Airport is one of the airports selected for part of more than $9.1 million in grant funding as well. The other airports are located in Alamosa, Gunnison, Kit Carson, Pueblo, Routt and Yuma counties.

Grant funding will be used for a variety of projects at Colorado airports, including safety upgrades and runway and taxiway improvements.


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