The Paper photo by Frank Phillips. Rotary President Norm Reimondo (left) thanks Myra Dunn for speaking to the club about the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport this week.
The Paper photo by Frank Phillips. Rotary President Norm Reimondo (left) thanks Myra Dunn for speaking to the club about the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport this week.
One of the neatest experiences for children (of all ages) is to visit the local airport.

The Crawfordsville Municipal Airport is located east of Bal-Hinch Country Store on C.R. 400S.

It has been there since 1944 when 151 acres of farm land was dedicated for an airport. Today, it sets on 275 acres.

Over the years, the airport has been gradually improved and the Aviation Commission continues to look to the future.

The biggest project now under way began more than 15 years ago, Myra Dunn told Rotarians this week. It is a 1,000 by 75 foot extension to the runway.

The purpose will be to attract business people and others who need a longer runway to land their larger jets, Dunn said.

Crawfordsville will pay $122,000 to complete the $2.4 million project. The balance will come from grants.

While $2.4 millions sounds like a very large amount in the current economic climate, a study released in 2012 by the Indiana Department of Transportation, Aviation Association of Indiana and Conexus Indiana stated, the total economic impact of the airport is $80 million annually. It supports 255 jobs with an annual payroll of $13 million supported by the airport.

There are 32 local airports in the state and the Crawfordsville airport ranked seventh highest, according to the study, Dunn said.

The airport has been 82 percent self-funding for the past five years. The City provides an average of $101,161 annually.

The proposed extension was postponed by the Indiana Department of Transportation until 2017 or later, even though all the requirements were met.

The airport management had to justify building the 1,000-foot extension. To do so, letters from corporations were obtained, indicating the extension would add at least 250 additional take-offs and landings each year. Corporations wrote that if the runway was extended, there would be more than 300 take-offs and landings each year.

Other documentation was obtained but then INDOT blocked the wheels of progress by stating it would not approve the extension until at least 2017, Dunn said.

But the documentation has a shelf life of three years, meaning the airport would have to start over with studies and letters from local businesses and corporations that had already been obtained once.

Congressman Todd Rokita's office helped cut through red tape. But, the governmental grants have not been received.

"The grant is coming this year, maybe," Dunn said.

Dunn serves as treasurer for the Aviation Commission and concluded her presentation by saying, "It's been wonderful to be on board."