Aerial Runway ksNovember 2014 – Andrea Goodell, Holland Sentinel   Approval of the design contract for a new $2.6 million apron is the next piece of the puzzle for the West Michigan Regional Airport’s new business center. The contract includes survey work, drainage designs, construction drawings, assistance with the bidding process and environmental considerations.

Already, the winning bidder — Lansing-based Mead and Hunt — knows it will have to mitigate more than 6,000 cubic yards of floodplain.

The Michigan Department of Transportation Office Aeronautics and Federal Aviation Administration will cover 95 percent of the apron costs, including the $226,000 design contract, leaving the West Michigan Airport Authority responsible for a little more than $11,000 for this portion of the project.

The $500,000 purchase of 15.41 acres — where the facility is proposed to be built — was approved Monday, Nov. 10, by the West Michigan Airport Authority. The land is owned by Johnson Controls Inc. and is adjacent to the airport and Crown Motors’ property. MDOT will consider that proposal Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Building a business center at the airport has been the goal of the authority since its inception in 2008 after voters in the cities of Holland and Zeeland and Park Township approved a 0.1 mill tax levy to support it. The levy was renewed in 2012.

The state has approved $1.9 million for the apron (where airplanes park, load and unload, etc.). The airport authority has discussed raising money from the community to make up the gap. It has raised about one-third of its goal so far and would need the rest by spring. Preliminary work on the apron could begin in January.