Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cleared for landing: Crawfordsville Municipal Airport (KCFJ), Union Township, Montgomery County, Indiana

Crawfordsville’s mayor, Todd Barton, cut the ribbon on the new runway Friday afternoon.

After four years of work, the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport now welcomes larger jets that will help grow existing businesses and bring more to town. The airport added 1,000 feet of runway and taxiway to accommodate large planes. The airport celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Friday afternoon. 

Airport Board of Commissioners Treasurer Myra Abbott said though the 1,000 feet are not important for small planes, those feet are vital for the safety of large plane customers. The bigger the plane, the harder the stop. The airport runway and taxiway are now both 5,500 feet long. 

“Our 4,500 foot runway, to us and our littler airplanes, seemed like it was enough. But to jets coming in and out it wasn’t,” Abbott said. “To keep up with airports that are strong in their economic benefits and strong in their business community we needed another thousand feet.” 

Mayor Todd Barton said that Abbott and the board had already started the expansion process when he took office, and he gave them credit for their work over the last few years to make the extension a reality. He said the extension will be an extra incentive for businesses to expand in Crawfordsville. 

“When they walk in and look at that wall and this magnificent facility it says this is a community that has its act together,” Barton said. “When people talk about bringing business to the community the airport always comes up—they have to be able to get in and out of here quickly. Time is money.”

Abbott said the extension will help to enhance the Stellar plan’s benefits. The runway will make it easier to get into Crawfordsville so the city can grow even more. 

Abbott said the extension was a long time in the making and credited the board with their patience and thanked various people from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Indiana Department of Transportation aviation division as well as the airport’s engineer, Tony McMichael from NGC Engineering. 

“This has been a long, long project—over four years—with some really high notes and some really low times when we didn’t think this was going to happen,” Abbott said. 

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) sent representatives to the ribbon cutting ceremony on their behalf. Donnelly’s representative, Hodge Patel, said this project is a good example of federal dollars going to work locally. 

“We talk about our tax dollars going to Washington and not coming back, but this is an example of a couple million dollars coming back,” Patel said. “90 percent of the project, which will be used by everyone in this room, was federal tax dollars.” 

Abbott said the extension received a lot of support from the community, too. 

“It has taken this whole community to build this extension we have never not had strong support, people volunteering to help, people asking questions,” Abbott said. 

Rokita’s representative, Brittany Wallace, read a letter from Rokita that thanked Crawfordsville for the initiative they showed in expanding the airport, she also said he was happy to help Crawfordsville secure the funding. 

Wallace also said Rokita learned to fly at the Crawfordville Airport and graduated from Wabash College. 

Story, photo gallery and video:

A plane flies into the newly expanded Crawfordsville Municipal airport.

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