Allegan’s new airport terminal at 740 Grand Street (M-222) was finished in December. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be in the spring. (Photo by Virginia Ransbottom)

Allegan’s new airport terminal looking sharp

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

The new $625,000 airport terminal at Allegan’s Padgham Field Airport was finished in December by McGraw Construction out of Grand Rapids. It’s the same construction that is building O’Reilly Auto Parts at the former Burger King on Western Avenue.

The new 1,600-square-foot terminal is attached to the old one, built in the 1970s, and rented to a private company along with the red hangar next to it.

Of the airport’s 36 hangars, 32 are currently rented. Sky Dive Allegan is one of them.

The new terminal project has been five years in the making, waiting for annual Federal Aviation Administration entitlements of $150,000 annually to fund it and development of a terminal study using plans that are FAA-eligible. Funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the city helped with the project.

The new terminal includes a refrigerator and vending space; a kitchenette; a pilot’s planning room; a lounge and ADA accessible restrooms equipped with showers; and LED lighting with motion sensors.

The FAA funding can only be used on fixed objects; therefore, the terminal is in need of furniture, which may be coming from the old city hall once staff is moved into the new city hall on Trowbridge Street. FAA will also only fund capital improvement projects—no maintenance.

While air signs, beacons and lights are always first on the project list, next in the five-year airport capital improvement plan is to paint the old terminal the same color as the new, crack seal pavement, paint pavement markings and asphalt coating hangars from ceiling to pavement.

For new projects, adding jet fuel tanks was discussed; however, the number of jets that land at the airport didn’t justify an addition at this time. A fuel pump for regular aviation fuel was added about eight years ago for self-service and a new fuel tank monitor will be installed.

“We have a few small jets land here and one turbo prop in a hangar that uses jet fuel, but the use is limited,” said Aaron Haskin, director of Public Works.

Last April, the Fixed Base Operator “Ace Aviation” pulled out of the airport, taking with them an aviation mechanic and flight school. Public Works and the Airport Advisory Board took over the Fixed Base Operator responsibilities. They are currently in talks with Lavion Aero, of Zeeland, for a private hangar rental that will offer a flight school.

Aviators can activate the runway lights and beacons by radio, fuel up on their own, and have code access to the terminal building.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new terminal building is planned for this spring.

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at vransbottom@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.

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