Airport board OKs additional $11.6M on expansion

2013-11-12T14:18:00Z 2013-11-12T15:59:12Z Airport board OKs additional $11.6M on expansionLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
November 12, 2013 2:18 pm  • 

GARY | More than $11.6 million in additional appropriations for the Gary Chicago International Airport’s cumulative building fund was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Airport Authority board.

The money is already in the cumulative building fund, one of two that receive some property tax support and one of three that are being used for the runway expansions at the airport, said interim Airport Director B.R. Lane.

This action followed a public hearing during which only one Gary resident spoke.

The appropriations were necessary because the fiscal year 2013 budget approved last fall was lower than is needed to continue the runway expansion, Lane said. The Indiana Department of Local Government Financing requires that an agency or municipality approve spending more than was advertised in the original budget.

“We need to prove to (the DLGF) that we have the resources on hand,” Lane said. “We will not spend more than we take in.”

The cumulative building fund receives $100,000 in tax payer money each year. The rest of the multimillion fund is supported by grants.

During the meeting, the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation was officially presented to the Chicago “DODO” Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen for the group’s EAA Young Eagle flight program by representatives of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. The flight program offers youth the opportunity to take rides in planes from the Gary airport and to learn about aviation careers.

“This award not only honors the Tuskegee Airmen’s program, it honors the Gary airport where they have flown from for the last 10 years,” said O’Merrial Butchee, director of the Gerald L. Lambkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest in Gary.

Chapter president Ken Rapier accepted the presentation of the award that features a replica of the plane used by Octave Chanute in his flight from the Indiana Dunes in the late 19th century prior to the Wright brothers’ achievement. The Chanute award will be displayed in the lobby of the Gary airport administration center.

NIPSCO representative Diane Thalmann also presented a check for $500 to the chapter. Rapier said the money would help provide more scholarships for young people going to college.

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