HAMILTON — Ravalli County commissioners say expansion of the airport at Hamilton is a major step forward for economic development, and it's being made possible because of secured federal funding.
Last week, the board signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for nearly $600,000, enabling the county to proceed with engineering and planning for the long-envisioned runway expansion, while details are worked out for using the $11 million the FAA has committed to the project.
Commissioner Jeff Burrows says it also opens the way for the county to iron out additional details of the project.
"It's a big deal for our community. It's a big deal for the airport and Ravalli County. And we've got some other wheels in motion with possibly some wastewater infrastructure coming our towards that area. Which, right now -- with the high ground water out there -- that wastewater portion of it really limits your ability to grow and expand out there," Burrows explained.
"We just recently entered into an MOU or an agreement with the City, where they'll allow us to have their wastewater services without being annexed into the city. Which is pretty significant for us and the airport," he added.
By using the planning money now, the county hopes construction on the airport expansion could start in 2021.