Thursday, October 17, 2013

Groundbreaking Held at Rochelle Municipal Airport (KRPJ) for Runway Extension

ROCHELLE (WIFR) -- In the mid 1940′s business man LaVerne Schultz created a grass runway near his factory on Highway 251 south first known as Shultz Field. In 1963 Mr. Schultz donated 27 acres of land to the City of Rochelle in this same location and construction began on a 2100′ hard surface runway. In 1988 the runway was lengthened and widened to the current 4226′ x 75′ runway.

Over the last 5 years the City of Rochelle has worked closely with the Illinois Division of Aeronautics, the Federal Aviation Administration, local land owners and City officials to purchase land necessary to extend the runway to 5001’x75’. This additional length will allow current industries based in Rochelle to utilize the Rochelle Municipal airport instead of neighboring airports. The additional runway length will also act as a catalyst for more economic growth in the region. “The City of Rochelle has always been an innovative community and the airport runway extension is another example of the infrastructure assets that City has invested to further grow the local economy” said Mayor Chet Olson.

Fifty years after the City of Rochelle took over Schultz Field it was renamed Koritz Field. Hosting a ground breaking event for the 2013 expansion of the City of Rochelle Municipal Airport Koritz Field the City Officials boasted about their economic development progress. David Plyman, Rochelle City Manager said “Rochelle has become a very attractive location for industrial clients, especially those that require air and rail service. We are blessed to have the support of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and IDOT’s Division of Aeronautics on this project”.

The nearly $1,500,000.00 project expands the city’s runway length to 5,001’ allowing larger corporate jet aircraft to utilize the Rochelle Municipal Airport, giving the airport the ability to handle these types of aircraft will add to the amenities that Rochelle has to offer. Funding for the project is 90% funded by discretionary money distributed by the State of Illinois and a 10% by the City of Rochelle. Mark Delhotal, Airport Manager for the Rochelle Municipal Airport added, “The increased runway length will allow aircraft from across the country to fly directly into Rochelle instead of neighboring airports, which will allow more opportunities for businesses to be based in Rochelle”.

Jason Anderson, Economic Development Director for the City of Rochelle added, “We have been capitalizing on our infrastructure assets to bring more industry to Rochelle for more than 50 years. We have interstate highways I-88 and I-39, the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads, a City owned short line railroad, and our own municipal airport. It makes “logistical” sense to be in Rochelle”.

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