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RDA money released for Gary Airport runway work

Updated: January 14, 2013 9:37PM



GARY — With $13 million released by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority last month, the Gary/Chicago International Airport board decided Monday it didn’t need to borrow money as previously planned.

The board canceled plans to borrow $12 million from its airport development zone because the RDA voted Dec. 19 to release $13 million of the $30 million the airport has requested for runway extension, Interim Airport Director Steve Landry said.

The $12 million will be repaid to the airport development zone in full, Landry said.

The airport, with the help of accounting and consultant Cender & Co., will also undertake identifying the airport development zone parcel numbers before March 1. Cender Executive Dan Botich told the board it needs to comply with the Lake County auditor’s office request that each municipality with a redevelopment commision review parcels within each tax increment financing — in this case the airport development zone — every two years so the office can neutralize the base values.

The airport development zone, which spans from Burr Street to the city’s corporate limits on its western side, contains within it two taxing districts — Lake Ridge Schools, with 2,331 parcels and the Gary Community School Corp. with 4,035 parcels — making the airport development zone the largest allocation area of its type in the state.

That Cender contract is set not to exceed $5,000; the board approved it 4-0.

Project management charges for the runway expansion project got a little more expensive as well. The Airport Board approved 4-0, with members Ross Amundson, Bob Poparad and Roosevelt Allen absent, to approve a $322,612.26 increase to AECom Engineering for work not in the original contract.

That work consists of unanticipated projects surronding the Canadian National/EJ&E railroad alignment, such as coordination of utility relocations, environmental support and land purchases, Landry said, adding that the money doesn’t exceed the $166 million budget the airport has budgeted for the runway.

The Rev. Marion Johnson, who retains his spot as Airport Board vice president for 2013, asked Landry and project manager Scott Wheeler to identify additional responsibilities before lumping them together for approval.

In addition to Johnson remaining vice president, the board voted 5-0, with Poparad and Allen absent, to retain Nathaniel Williamson as board president and Amundson as secretary.

In other business, Landry and marketing liaison James Ward III reported to the board that Allegiant Air’s passenger numbers have surpassed 10,500 and that the airport is doing so well with its two flights out each week, the carrier has started retrofitting aircraft to fit 166 passengers — up from 150 — for its Gary/Orlando route.



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