Leaders in the City of Camdenton said they are optimistic about the potential for its airport. The conclusion to a three-part expansion plan includes the lengthening of its runway from four to five thousand feet. With this change, the airport will be able to accommodate more air traffic and larger planes.
City officials said this increase in traffic will lead to economic growth and job creation for the lake community.
As it stands, many private planes weren’t able to utilize the Camdenton Airport; they were not covered by their insurance providers because Camdenton’s runway is too short. With the added thousand feet in length, the insurers would cover planes using the airport. This could benefit individuals and businesses on the west side of the lake.
Camdenton Economic Development Director Mike Nichols said this could also benefit the city’s nearby industrial park.
“We think the two being next to each other are each an asset to each other," Nichols said. "We’re also hoping that it spurs growth in the industrial park, having that runway right there, the airport access. So again, it ties back to economic development and trying to grow jobs."
The expansion was approved last fall after a letter writing campaign sparked support from elected officials, such as Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, as well as from corporations who wanted to move their businesses but could not use the shorter runway.
After proving the need for these airport improvements, airport owner AirLake Aviation, was able to secure state and federal grant money to fund 90 percent of the project. The other ten percent will come from the city. AirLake Owner Corey Leuwerke said these improvements would spur economic growth for the airport, industrial park, and community as a whole.
“It’s like putting a four-lane highway into a community, you know, it’s not just a gas station," Leuwerke said, adding the infrastructure expansion will attract businesses to the community."
The entire three-part plan, which included updates to the weather monitoring system and landing instruments, as well as the lengthening of the runway, is estimated to cost $6.2 million. The runway expansion plan is in its environmental assessment phases and should be completed by 2016.