Decorah airport to receive $448K from USDOT Airport Infrastructure Grants program

By Denise Lana,

(Originally published in the February 22 Public Opinion, available in print and online. Certain content is presented first to subscribers (print and digital), then released for consumption later)

The Decorah Municipal Airport was awarded a $448,000 grant Jan. 30 on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airport Infrastructure Grants program. Twenty airports across Iowa were selected to receive portions of a $15 million program geared at modernizing aging airport infrastructure and ensuring safe air travel. 

According to City Manager Travis Goedken, Decorah Airport will utilize the grant money to help complete its airport terminal and hangar project, which was part of the city’s FY24 budget at $1.5 million. Cited in Decorah’s FY25 budget statement, the project was not awarded due to the bid received being much higher than the city engineer’s estimate. 

Rebid for the project will take place in March, and if the project is awarded, the expenses will mostly occur in FY25. 

Goedken said, “This would include demolishing the existing maintenance hangar (large building next to fuel tanks at airport) and replacing it with a larger hangar that is sufficient to hold all aircraft based at the airport with an attached terminal building.” 

Goedken elaborated, “The current ‘terminal’ has a sign labeled ‘Pilot’s Lounge’ that requires people walk across the apron to enter. The new terminal building would allow people to access the building directly from the parking lot and people would avoid walking through the apron in front of existing hangars and near the fueling area.”

The airport project is scheduled to be phased over two years, according to Goedken, and will utilize secured funding from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the Federal Aviation Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) improvement initiative, Iowa DOT Aviation Bureau General Aviation Vertical Infrastructure (GAVI), and BIL’s Airport Terminals Program. 

More grants will be applied for as necessary as the project progresses.

Plans for the airport hangar project are nearing completion, according to Goedken. “We hope to have the plans ready for the March city council meetings.”

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