CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Yeager Airport officials are happy with an agreement to construct a bridge over the Elk River at Coonskin Park that will preserve the West Virginia Air National Guard's 130th Airlift Wing base.
"It took a team effort," said retired Gen. Allen Tackett, who sits on the airport's board of directors. "It's a win-win for everybody."
Tackett said he appreciated the effort of the Kanawha County Commission to ensure the bridge could be built.
Yeager Airport will contribute up to $1.5 million to the Coonskin Park bridge project, but funding has not yet been identified, Airport Director Rick Atkinson said after the airport's board meeting Wednesday.
The airport board will contribute that amount to the project, but the board must ensure whatever funds it decides to contribute are permitted to be used for the project.
"We're going to do it," Atkinson said.
In other business, the airport board:
■ Approved a $7.3 million grant at its meeting Wednesday that will help pay for the second phase of the height reduction of a hill at the south end of the airport's main runway. The directors also approved an agreement for a $200,000 planning grant related to the project.
The hill's current height is not in compliance with newer Federal Aviation Administration guidelines that require planes to ascend a certain amount of feet upon takeoff in case of engine trouble. The hill causes heavy planes to be unable to ascend to the proper height upon takeoff.
The total cost is about $15 million, and $13.2 million of that amount is construction-related. The airport board has already received a $6.9 million grant for the first phase of the project. Work will begin when all legal documents have been reviewed and approved.
■ Learned a grant application submitted last month that would help Yeager Airport attract a direct flight to Florida has received approval from West Virginia's congressional delegation and will move forward.
The airport has asked for $750,000 in money from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Small Community Air Service Development Grant program. Last year, 33 airports in 24 states and territories received funding. The grant awards are expected to be announced in September.
Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Mur...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.