Jefferson County once again is seeking a government grant to improve its airport.
County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III said officials submitted a Regional Economic Development Council request for $1.2 million to build an 8,000-square-foot business center at Watertown International Airport, Dexter. The county would pitch in another $200,000.
The business center would house the airports fixed-base operator a county-run outfit that provides fuel to private and commercial aircraft and services such as bathrooms and showers for pilots of private planes.
Thats what you find in an FBO that doesnt exist right now, Mr. Hagemann said.
The application, which was sent before Mondays deadline, is another example of the countys renewed focus on the airport. In November, American Eagles 44-seat airplanes began flying to Chicago, replacing a smaller airplane that wasnt delivering the passenger load the county had hoped for.
In 2011, the county won a $1.5 million grant through the same regional council to build a larger airport hangar for its private operations. Construction should start in the fall, Mr. Hagemann said.
The fixed-base operator has the potential to earn money for the county with gasoline sales and rental space, meaning that eventually, less cash will come out of taxpayers pockets to pay for airport operations.