Two votes by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority on Monday marked the near completion of land acquisitions needed for the $166 million expansion project.
The authority voted 6-0 to accept the deed to 84 acres known as the NBD Property, marking the end of four years of negotiation and condemnation proceedings.
By the same vote, the authority at its meeting at the Airport Administration Building accepted a city donation of approximately 40 acres of rare dune and swale habitat off Burr Street that will be used to offset wetlands eliminated by the runway expansion project.
“You never want to say never,” said Airport Attorney Patrick Lyp. “But as far as I know we have secured all the property the airport needs based on current plans.”
Another small piece of property will be closed on in September, Lyp said.
All told the airport has bought more than 150 acres that are now part of the airport property and more than 100 other acres of dune and swale for environmental offsets in other parts of Gary.
The airport authority board also heard about the first big promotion planned for Allegiant Airline since it started flying from Gary to Orlando in February.
An Allegiant “Vote for Vacation” tour bus will show up at the airport at 6 a.m. Sept. 13 and conduct a four-hour promotion, newly hired Gary airport marketing director James Ward told the authority.
The promotion's theme will play off the U.S. presidential campaign now underway, with a $21.60 voucher for Allegiant flights presented as a “tax break” to all comers who vote for their favorite thing to do on vacation. There will also be drawings for plane tickets and a live radio broadcast.
Ward said that will be followed on another day by the Gary airport's own “Quest for the Perfect Vacation” promotion.
Airport expansion Project Manager Scott Wheeler reported to the authority the $1.8 million clearing and grubbing project for the runway expansion is now complete. An environmental remediation project at the former PI&I trucking site is also complete and the airport will receive a $79,092 refund on the project.
The authority board also approved accepting a refund credit of $239,987 on the railroad bridges project north of the airport.