News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 16, 2012

Airport board paves way for new military facility on grounds

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute International Airport officials are paving the way to land a new building project next year.

Bill Foraker, president of the airport board of directors, said Wednesday night the organization has approved a land lease agreement with the Indiana State Armory Board. That agreement means a new military facility will come to the airport next year.

Slated to be a vehicle maintenance operation for the Indiana Army National Guard, the $10.5 million construction project is expected to bring up to 60 full-time jobs to the site, in addition to nearly 200 guard members on drill weekends, he said. Construction should begin in the spring and last about 18 months, he added.

The board also approved a 2013 operating budget. Foraker explained that state regulations which came into effect this year changed the required submission date for airport budgets. The local facility, he said, was late in submitting its proposed 2013 budget, and so it will be capped at the 2012 rates. However, the board can adopt a “working budget” and reallocate funds between the various departments, he said.

Total airport revenue projected in the budget is $1,817,894 against expenses of $1,849,637, making for a 2013 shortfall of $31,743. But that is based on the 2012 numbers and doesn’t include expected revenue increases from projects such as the new National Guard facility to be built, he said. He is optimistic the facility will exceed revenue projections.

Airport executive director Bill McKown said one of the marketing department’s goals is to secure a “destination airline,” one which would transport travelers to a particular vacation spot. The potential exists to take some of that business away from Indianapolis, he remarked.

“Ease of access here puts them to shame,” he said.

McKown and Foraker both said the airport continues to court a number of businesses interested in locating there.

“We have really good possibilities to make things happen,” Foraker said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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