Frederick Airport Tower

From the Frederick News-Post, September 28, 2010

Airport control tower grant approved, construction to move forward
Originally published September 28, 2010

By Stephanie Mlot
News-Post Staff


The Frederick Municipal Airport’s air traffic control tower has been granted final approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.The $4.8 million tower will be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin announced the funding Monday.

“Because of its close proximity to Washington, D.C., Camp David and Fort Detrick, the Frederick Municipal Airport has become an important hub in our state’s transportation network,” said Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, in a statement.

Despite federal funding, plans will not be finalized until a Wednesday meeting between the mayor and board of aldermen, allowing the group to deliberate and approve the construction contract, according to Rick Weldon, the mayor’s executive assistant.

“I think it’s highly unlikely that the board wouldn’t want to move forward with building a tower, given that it doesn’t cost the city budget a penny to do it,” Weldon said.

Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty has said the tower is about safety and security, to help regulate volume at Maryland’s second-busiest airport.

“First and foremost, this substantially and permanently improves the safety of FDK airport operations,” Mayor Randy McClement wrote in an e-mail Monday.

Without this grant, the possibility of the tower would only be a project placed somewhere in a future Capitol Improvement Plan, he said.

City Transportation Planner Tim Davis called the grant approval fantastic.

This comes after years of work, he said. “A lot of working with a lot of people.”

The 105-foot tower is expected to be on the east side of the airport, north of the Department of Public Works building.

“We know that this tower will lead to an increase in fuel sales and maintenance work, all of which improves the revenue picture at the airport, in turn helping to provide a new stream of revenue for the city,” McClement wrote.

Frederick has been wading through every imaginable control tower grant request for years, Davis said, finally gaining approval Monday.

The project is expected to create 80 to 90 jobs, and staff six to eight full-time controllers trained, certified and salaried by the FAA. Upkeep costs will be handled by the airport, a self-sustaining entity.

According to the mayor, the city will manage the construction contract, incorporating the physical structure into its overall facilities management plan at the airport.

While construction will begin almost immediately, completion of the tower is expected within 18 months.

“This is the real thing,” a shovel-ready project, Davis said.

The $4.8 million FAA grant covers the project construction, extension of utilities, tower design, road construction and development fees, Davis said.

A 30-day period after completion will allow for FAA’s inspections and employee training.

McClement doesn’t think local residents who don’t regularly use the airport will notice a difference.

“Of course, the knowledge that we’re operating a safe facility should be a matter of peace-of-mind for our citizens,” he wrote.



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