By Tammy Gray
Holbrook’s municipal airport is receiving some much-needed electrical maintenance and upgrades thanks to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant.
City Manager Ray Alley explained that the city received a grant that will pay for the majority of the work being done at the airport. The FAA will pay $136,590, an additional $6,705 will be covered by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the City of Holbrook will contribute $6,705 to the project, which is mainly focused on the airport’s electrical system.
An old metal storage building that houses electrical equipment will be demolished and removed, and a new one built in its place. New electrical panels and breakers that control runway lights and other equipment will also be replaced inside the building.
According to Alley, an inspection at the airport revealed that not all of the runway lights are in working order, and many of those that do work are fogged or damaged by wind, sand and the sun. The control units for the lights are also outdated. In order to comply with regulations, the lighting system is being overhauled and the damaged lights will be repaired to create a modern, fully functioning runway lighting system.
He explained that the FAA grant is for two phases of work, an engineering phase and a repair phase. All of the engineering work has been completed, and bids have already been sought for the repair and upgrade work, which is expected to begin right away.
Grant funds will also be used to replace a generator at the airport that Alley noted is more than 20 years old. The new generator will ensure that runway lights and other vital airport systems will continue to operate in the event of a power outage.
In the meantime, city crews are working to replace the hangar doors at the airport. Age and wind damage have made the existing doors difficult to open and close. According to Alley, they are nearly at the point of being impossible to open. He had hoped to have the doors replaced by early May, but weather conditions delayed the work, which is expected to be complete this week.
Alley’s future goals for the airport include remodeling the lobby and completing a clean out of the hangar. He explained that he has tried to include a small amount in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year to refurbish and update the lobby, such as removing wood paneling, painting and installing new flooring. If the budget is too tight, however, the work will be minimal or delayed until the next fiscal year. He also noted that although a significant number of stored items have been removed from the hangar, there is more cleaning to be done and he hopes to complete that work this summer.