The Minden Airport is set to receive a $3,400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The grant money will be used to construct a 3,979-foot parallel taxiway, eliminating the need for aircrafts to back-taxi on the runway. The entire grant totals $4,355,800, with the Leesville Airport set to receive $955,800 for runway improvements.
The Minden City Council voted to accept the funding at a special meeting Friday morning.
“The purpose is to do some demolition of our old hangars,” said District D City Councilman Mike Toland. “To dig up and clean up some of the old gas tanks that were underground at our old gas facility, tear down the old terminal and build a parallel runway beside the existing runway.”
Toland said this will give aircrafts easier access and exits so that planes already on the ground can taxi back to their hangar or terminal without staying on the existing runway, thus allowing other plans to land more quickly.
“Airports are a vital part of a city’s ability to accomplish economic development,” Toland said. “Many companies make location decisions based on the convenience to fly in and out of a city.”
The Minden Aiport has been proactive in addressing these needs, having made $5.4 million dollars in improvements over the past three years, all at a very low cost to the Minden’s taxpayers, as the Federal Aviation Administration and Louisiana Department
of Transportation and Development have paid for most of these improvements.
“It’s going to be a great addition,” Minden Mayor Tommy Davis said of the new runway. “It’s going to totally change the look of our airport once this project is complete.”
Toland credited Davis with spearheading the effort to increase Minden’s appeal to potential businesses.
“We’re fortunate to have an aggressive mayor and city engineer who is constantly looking for these grants to help improve Minden,” Toland said.
Congressman Mike Johnson, a member of the House Judiciary Committee as well as the Committee on Natural Resources, also weighed in on the Dept. of Transportation’s decision to fund the two Louisiana local airports.
“I am grateful to see that the airports in both Minden and Leesville will be receiving much needed federal funding for airport runway improvements,” Johnson said. “I look forward to seeing further investment in Louisiana’s Fourth Congressional District.”