Lewis Airport to Get Grant
Lewis University Airport in Romeoville will receive a $490,615 grant for a taxiway to its aviation center.
U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, announced the grant in a news release. The money will be used to replace original pavement on the taxiway, which is used by aircraft operating out of Lewis' flight department building and other aircraft using the airport, said Chris Lawson, aviation director with the Joliet Regional Port District.
The port district owns and operates the airport.
The project will improve traffic flow from the runways to the airports hangers, including the part of the airport that serves Lewis' aviation program, according to Romeoville Mayor John Noak.
“While the improvements will be extremely helpful during events in the region, such as the races at Chicagoland Speedway, it will also benefit the entire local economy, making the airport’s facilities more appealing to corporate traffic and enhancing the prestigious aviation program at Lewis University,” Noak said in the news release.
The fix will be particularly helpful when the NASCAR Air Force comes to town in September, Lawson said.
"We get about 100 airplanes in here," Lawson said. "They call it the NASCAR Air Force, and it's going to be just great for the controllers to launch all those airplanes. It gives them another path where they can stage and get them out in the right order in their flight plans."
The taxiway was capped with a patch last year, Lawson said, and is functional. But the new pavement will last 20 years.
"It's some old pavement that needed to be rejuvenated," Lawson said. "We're really happy about cleaning it up."
This grant is part of a public-private collaboration that includes Lewis University, the airport, and Illinois, according to the news release from Lipinski. It's a combination of state money and airport improvement funds, collected every time an aircraft purchases a gallon of gas at the airport, Lawson said.
“This grant will help Lewis University Airport improve its infrastructure, boosting economic development and aiding the top-notch Lewis University Aviation program,” Lipinski said in the news release.
The airport awaits the release of the money, Lawson said, and hopes to start the renovation project May 1.
The Lewis University Airport accommodates more than 100,000 arrivals and departures annually, according to the news release.
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