The Iowa City Municipal Airport has been awarded a $4.8 million federal grant to purchase land for a runway protection zone.
Michael Tharp, operations specialist at the airport, said the grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration’s airport improvement program will finance the purchase of land at the end of Runway 12/30, on the northwest side of airport.
“The land is located between the old Menard’s building and the Walmart complex,” Tharp said. “It is cropland and it’s going to stay cropland, pending the airport doing anything else with it under FAA land use restrictions.
“It’s land that’s under the runway protection zone that by FAA policy the airport should own. We’ve had this on the radar since the last airport master plan update in 1996.
“A combination of things came into play and we finally got a purchase agreement and the FAA funding to get this thing done,” he added.
Tharp said the airport hopes to receive the FAA funds next week and complete the land purchase.
The former Menard’s retail building has housed the University of Iowa Arts Campus since shortly after the June 2008 flood.