Alma gets paved runway at airport

Gov. Heineman to speak at dedication ceremony Thursday

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 2:00 pm

ALMA — Alma will dedicate the newly paved runway at the Alma Municipal Airport Thursday afternoon.

The dedication ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. with presentations from Gov. Dave Heineman, members of the Federal Aviation Administration and of the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics.

Alma Municipal Airport, which was built in the mid-1980s, had only a sod runway until paving began April 1. The runway is 3,200 feet by 60 feet. New lights, which can be activated by pilots as they come in for a landing, and a beacon also were installed at the airport.

The project cost $1.9 million, with 90 percent of the money coming from a federal grant and the remaining 10 percent from local and state funds.

Alma City Administrator Doug Wilson said having a paved runway is a “pretty big deal for the area” and will make medical flights more convenient.

“They increased the length of it to get some bigger planes in here,” Wilson said. “From my understanding, when doctors fly in, they had to fly to Holdrege and then drive to Alma because we didn’t have a concrete runway.”

Wilson said he believes the new runway will help increase tourism for Harlan County.

“I think it’ll help the whole area, with the tourists who can fly in and land in the area and for hunters and fisherman,” he said.

Airport Manager Ron Hawley said the city has no way of tracking planes that come in and out of the airport because it’s unattended, but he has noticed that there have been a few more planes tied out since it was paved.

“We’ve had some more interest from people who want to put planes out there, but we just don’t have the hangar space right now for them,” he said. Eight names are on a waiting list for additional hangar space.

In the spring, the airport will add precision approach path indicator lighting to the runway. Plans include adding a spraying business at the airport and a terminal building with pilot area.

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