The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018

Airport raising funds for capital projects

VW independent/submitted information

For the past few months a quiet, but effective, regionwide fundraising campaign has been underway to pay for a new state-of-the-art terminal and additional improvements at the Van Wert County Airport, including extension of the current runway to 5,000 feet.

Leaders of the “Flight Plan for the Future” campaign, Chuck Koch of Koch Law Offices, Mike Keysor of Custom Assembly, Andy Czajkowski of Statewide Ford, and Bill Rager of Store and Haul, have been busy presenting the case for the airport’s improvement to area businesses and others with a goal of raising $1.25 million in multi-year commitments.

According to Mike Keysor, who also serves as chair of the Airport Authority, every dollar raised in the campaign will generate $19 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in matching funds.

First Federal of Van Wert made one of the important early commitments to the $1.25 million funding campaign to improve the Van Wert Regional Airport. Shown presenting a pledge card for their $50,000 commitment are First Federal representatives Diana Cearns, Randy Myers, and Lisa Lawson, Airport Manager Steve Bailey, First Federal President Brian Renner, First Federal’s Adam Reis, and Andy Czajkowski of Statewide Ford and a co-chair of the campaign. photo submitted

“However, the FAA’s dollars can only be used to pay for ‘air side’ improvements, such as the runway, lighting, and aircraft parking,” Keysor noted. “Local funding is for the FAA match and construction of the new terminal, which is long past the need for replacement.”

The terminal building was constructed in 1939 and was last renovated in 1974.

Campaign leaders cite the importance of a modern municipal airport as critical to attracting and retaining employers who increasingly depend on corporate aircraft in conducting business.

“Our mega site will be far more competitive with the addition of a runway that will accommodate corporate aircraft requiring a minimum 5,000 feet of runway,” said Czajkowski, who is also president of the Van Wert Business Development Corporation. “Our current runway is only 4,000 feet and is unsafe for business jets of any significant size.”

“This is one of the community amenities that’s been overlooked for a long time,” Koch said, “and it’s a credit to our business community and area foundations that they recognize the importance of this aviation asset to the economic progress of our region.”

POSTED: 07/10/18 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: News