Federal grant to support new airport taxiway

Carleen Wild
Posted 3/27/23

Flandreau Airport

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Federal grant to support new airport taxiway


The disintegrating runway at Flandreau’s Municipal Airport is scheduled for improvements after the Flandreau City Council approved moving forward with a grant application at its most recent meeting.
The City each year is allocated approximately $150,000 in federal funds for improvements to the airport. All that is needed to access those funds is a grant application that lays out how the City will use the funds along with an agreement that the city and state will each agree to a 5% match. Ultimately the cost to the city and state is approximately $3,400 each.
The measure passed with only one dissenting vote — Councilman Mark Ekern questioned how often the airport was ever used besides crop spraying planes and helicopters.
Councilman Brad Bjerke answered that the airport is used more frequently than most might think and the proposal would be merely fixing what is there now.
He added that, “Basically, the taxiway in front of the south hangars is falling apart. The pavement index is well below even minimums. I wish they were going to extend this to the west, which maybe they could do in the future, or (even add) more hangars. This is just to get them rolling to design it and retain the money,” said Bjerke.

Aberdeen-based Helms & Associates will be responsible for the design work. Any funding that remains from the $150,000 after paying the firm will be signed over to the state and saved into its pavement maintenance program for future use.
“The thought process behind doing this now with this year’s dollars is to basically allow ourselves, if we move forward with our large project, to do the entire runway. We would be able to include this in the project either as a base bid or an alternate to be decided on later but basically we’d have all of the engineering done and the city would only be out about $3,400,” said Turnquist.
Also heard at the most recent meeting of the Flandreau City Council:
An update on the removal of the Duncan Elevator and adjacent Quonset huts on the south end of the downtown block where the new fire station will be built. Snowy weather has pushed back the demolition dates but the crews hired to remove the structures hope to begin work this week or next with full removed planned by mid-April.
Austin Thielke has been hired to replace one of two departing officers from the Flandreau Police Department. Thielke comes to the Department with experience with the Minnesota National Guard and deployments to help with the rioting in Minneapolis over the past couple of years. Thielke also has EMT training. He was approved for the job and will attend the South Dakota Law Enforcement Academy as soon as an opening is available for the 13-week training program.
Council also approved givoing City Administrator Cohl Turnquist to go-ahead to apply for a federal grant that allows cities to hire an additional officer. With the formal departure this past week of two local officers and only one new hire to fill that void, the City, Turnquist said, would qualify. The grant requires a match on the city’s part to pay a salary over a three-year period up to $125,000 for the hiring of an additional officer. Council approved applying for the grant.
The Governor recently gave State staff Good Friday off of work and the City typically follows the State on approved days off each year. Residents should note then that City Offices, ahead of the Easter holiday weekend, will be closed April 7th and 10th.
Valley Fiber Com will be working to lay cables in the right of way across town to expand services within city limits. Easements will be needed across any private properties but there will be no cost to the city other than the time that staff might be needed to help Valley Fiber Com crews locate underground utilities. The new service will offer more options for internet to the city but not cable.