The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission voted to approve a revised Capital Improvement Plan at its meeting on Monday night.

Airport Manager Stacy Hoggard told commissioners that issues with runway lighting on 04/22 have caused the need to move upgrading the lighting sooner in the plan.

Previously slated for 2025, the lighting project is now moved to the top of the list, with design work slated in 2022 and the project scheduled for 2023.

The airport anticipates receiving $150,000 in federal funds each of those years to use toward the nearly half-a-million-dollar project. With some assistance from the state, as well, the commission still anticipates needing close to $200,000 to complete the project, which will upgrade all the lighting to LED and replace all the old infrastructure.

Hoggard said there may be other funding available, as well, by 2023, but because of the change in the CIP, the airport will not be eligible for discretionary funds.

Both Hoggard and Commission Chair Don Cavenaugh said the lighting project is a necessity, with some of the lighting being second-hand lighting that has been installed to fix previous issues with the lights that Cavenaugh said are “older than the dirt they are in.”

Hoggard said she is hopeful they can keep the lights functional until the system can be upgraded.

The new CIP also calls for the airport to reconstruct apron lighting in 2024, bank funds in 2025, work on airfield drainage in 2026 and work on the terminal apron, helicopter pad and taxiways in 2027.

Also on Monday, the commission:

Heard an update from Hoggard regarding negotiations with Custom Pavement to have 18/36 and the airport’s parking restriped after an unsatisfactory job was completed on seal coating 04/22. “The friction test was fine on the runway,” Hoggard said. “The integrity is OK. It just doesn’t look real pretty.” Commissioners voted to allow Hoggard to complete the negotiations and asked her to get something in writing in case work has to be delayed until spring.”

Authorized Hoggard to enter into a contract to remain a regional disaster site for a six-state region, if approved by the Office of Emergency Management and FEMA. The airport is also a disaster site for the state of Arkansas.

Voted to have Hoggard submit a waiver regarding the airport’s military contract’s requirement to have a secondary automatic shut off system on the airport’s fuel farm.

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