Commissioners approve runway study for Roben-Hood Airport

During the Big Rapids City Commission meeting Monday night, commissioners awarded a bid to complete a runway feasibility study for Roben-Hood Airport to the engineering firm Mead & Hunt to determine if there is a benefit to extending the length of the runway. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — City officials hope to increase the economic impact of Roben-Hood Airport on Big Rapids by extending the length of the runway.

During the Big Rapids City Commission meeting Monday night, commissioners awarded a bid for a runway feasibility study to the engineering firm Mead & Hunt for $17,396.

Airport Manager Steve Schroeder said the study will include an updated analysis of the number of people who use the airport and the types of aircraft being used, runway length requirements for larger aircraft, alternative cost estimates and the economic impact of the airport on the city.

Schroeder said the ability to have bigger aircraft, in greater numbers would be a benefit to the economy of Big Rapids because it will mean increased traffic for businesses in the city.

In 2015, a previous feasibility study for extending the runway to attract larger aircraft to Roben-Hood was completed, Schroeder explained, but the project was not approved to move forward at the time because the number of users was considered too small to make the necessary investment. However, Schroeder said there has been an increase in the number of users since the original study.

“We’ve continued to see more and more users,” he said.

According to a position paper presented to the board, the runway is currently 4,300 feet long, but for larger aircraft to use it, a minimum of 5,000 feet is needed.

“Personally, I would like to see it expand,” said Mayor Tom Hogenson. “We need all the information we can get about the airport before we can make a decision, though.”

Also during the meeting, commissioners:

• Approved a resolution to implement new traffic control signs on West Spruce Street in order to reduce the likelihood of an injury to parents or students during the transition periods at Crossroads Charter Academy;

• Awarded Kamminga & Roodvoets, Inc., a Grand Rapids based excavating firm, the bid for a South Warren Avenue reconstruction project, which will include work to the curb, sidewalk and drive approaches in the 300 and 400 blocks of the road, for $85,579;

• Approved allowing Department of Public Works Director Heather Bowman to sign a lighting contract with Consumers Energy for the installment of three LED lights on South State Street; and

• Approved mayoral appointments of Patrick McNabb to Act 345 for an unexpired term ending July 2019, Roberta Nista to the Income Tax Board of Appeals for a full term ending March 2012 and Chelsea Mitchell to the Parks and Recreation Board for an unexpired term ending May 2021.

Leave a Reply