DeKALB – An 22-year-old runway at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport is getting a facelift.
Runway 2/20 – the newer of the two at the airport, 3232 Pleasant Street – was originally constructed in 1998, and an extension was added in 2004, according to city documents. City Manager Bill Nicklas said it has since then exceeded its design life and, since it serves as the primary runway for larger planes at the airport, it needs to be properly maintained.
"The federal government has very specific guidelines, unlike what we may be able to do on a street," Nicklas said. "There is an expectation that to stay open, a runway has to be kept to certain standards. We are right at that edge."
The council on Monday unanimously approved a construction bid for $52,200 with Crawford, Murphy and Tilly, Inc., to fill cracks and remark the runway. The funds, which were approved for the FY2020 budget in November by the council, will come from the airport's tax increment finance fund, documents show. According to a composite rating for the runway the Illinois Department of Transportation, runway 2/20 is in fair condition, and a 58 to 64 out of 100, below the 70/100 ratio which usually dictates runway maintenance needs, documents show.
Federal funding through the Federal Aviation Administration's Transportation Improvements Project program will account for the majority of the project costs, estimated to be $800,000, documents show.
"When asphalt begins to crack, it's a little more perilous than if it's on a street," Nicklas said. "If an airplane is hitting a crack at 150 miles per hour, it's going to be a problem."
The airport is also in need of a new manager, as longtime Airport Manager Tom Cleveland announced in January he would be stepping away from his role after 18 years. He's set to start work as deputy director at DuPage Airport in a month.
Nicklas said Monday the job has been posted (along with the soon-vacant DeKalb Chief of Police position after interim John Petragallo announced he'll depart in the spring).