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The Suburbanite
  • Akron-Canton Airport expands planning efforts

  • A new Federal Aviation Administration grant is allowing Akron-Canton Airport to merge a sustainability study with its master plan work.

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  • Akron-Canton Airport officials will spend the next year seeking ways to reduce the amount of energy used by the facility.
    Earlier this month, the airport received a $234,000 sustainability grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant was one of 20 distributed around the country.
    The grant will be paired with the airport’s master plan program. Akron-Canton has been working on the master plan since last year and hoped to wrap up the work early next year. Adding the sustainability project likely will stretch development of the master plan to the end of 2014.
    “This comes at a good time,” Richard B. McQueen, the airport’s president and chief executive officer, said of the sustainability grant.
    The airport originally had hoped to include a sustainability study with the master plan, but the FAA wasn’t prepared for the studies. Once the agency was prepared to launch the sustainability studies, the FAA contacted Akron-Canton and offered the additional grant, McQueen said.
    MORE EFFICIENT
    Incorporating the sustainability study into the master plan makes the planning process more efficient.
    While working on the master plan, the airport already has studied the terminal, the airfield and private aviation operations. With the sustainability grant, work can begin on energy efficiency, waste management and ways to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint, McQueen said.
    When it comes to energy efficiency the airport can consider using alternative power sources, such as solar panels, cogeneration or geothermal. The airport also could reduce air pollution by converting shuttles to natural gas.
    But changes, McQueen said, also must be accepted by the airlines, car rental companies and other businesses that operate at the airport.
    ONGOING PROJECT
    The airport and FAA are spending about $2 million on the combined master plan and sustainability study. FAA money accounts for 90 percent — $1.53 million for the master plan — of the cost, while the airport provides the remainder.
    The work comes in the midst of the airport’s CAK 2018 improvement plan. It covers 10 years and calls for 10 different improvement projects through 2018, McQueen said.
    Past projects include a new building for safety equipment and redesigning the security screening area.
    Next year, the airport plans to realign the entrance road and reconfigure parking. The goal is to improve traffic flow and efficiency. McQueen said the airport is working on the design with Hammontree & Associates. Plans for 2015 are to redesign the ticket area at the front of the terminal.
    McQueen said the new master plan will cover 20 years, taking it until 2034. The airport staff also prepares a 10-year plan every year.
    Although the airport’s passenger growth has taken a hit this year following the loss of Frontier Airlines flights, McQueen expects to see passenger use begin climbing in 2015.
    Page 2 of 2 - A new plan will anticipate  passenger gains, McQueen said. “It’s going to be very valuable moving forward.”
     

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