Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2018 issue
DULUTH, MINN. – The Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA) honored those who have made significant contributions to the Minnesota air transportation system during the Minnesota Airports Conference, April 18-20, 2018 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth, Minnesota. The organization also presented its annual academic scholarship to a student pursuing a career in aviation. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics presented its coveted “Governor’s Award.”
Receiving MCOA’s “Outstanding Service Award” was Rochester, Minnesota Mayor Ardell F. Brede. The award is reserved for those individuals who have given their personal time and effort to the growth and development of aviation, either locally or statewide, and served in various organizational leadership positions or capacities within the Minnesota aviation industry.
Mayor Brede has been the mayor of Rochester since 2003. Prior to being elected, he began his 43-year career with Mayo Clinic at Rochester Methodist Hospital in 1959 as director of admissions and business services.
Mayor Brede has served as the chairman of the Rochester Airport Commission during his tenure as mayor. During that time, the airport has completed over $60 million in construction projects.
Receiving MCOA’s “Intermediate General Aviation Airport Project of the Year Award” was the City of Mora, Minnesota for its turf crosswind runway 11/29 project. The consultant was Short Elliott Hendrickson; and the contractor was Northern Lines Contracting, Inc.
The environmental analysis for this project began in 2001 and was completed in 2016. There were multiple design iterations to ultimately determine the appropriate design to meet the needs of the airport.
The greatest challenge for this project was completion of the environmental process and necessary land acquisition, due to opposition from residents adjacent to the airport. An environmental assessment was completed in 2004 and the city began the process of acquiring approximately 60 acres of land from multiple landowners. By the time the land was acquired and runway reconstruction was ready to move forward, additional environmental impacts beyond what was evaluated in the environmental assessment were identified, including a small amount of additional wetland impacts and potential impacts to newly listed protected species. The airport also completed additional cultural resources investigation and surveys as part of the re‐evaluation effort. Through the re‐evaluation, the FAA determined that a new environmental assessment was not warranted and a written reevaluation/record of decision was issued in September 2016.
Receiving MCOA’s “Commercial Airport Project of the Year Award” was the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Terminal 1-Lindbergh Landside Expansion Project. The airport sponsor is the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). Consultants included Kimley-Horn, Michaud Cooley Erickson, SRF Consulting Group, Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, Meyer Borgman Johnson, and Kraus-Anderson Construction. Contractors included Lunda Construction Company, Knutson Construction Services, and Ames Construction.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission determined it was necessary to expand public parking at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to meet growing demand. The addition of a new parking structure required the relocation of significant existing infrastructure.
The Terminal 1-Lindbergh Landside Expansion project reshaped 20 acres of the campus through a series of projects to relocate and expand existing landside infrastructure. The project was a combination of heavy civil and commercial building construction. Significant scope elements of the project included:
• Widening Northwest Drive, an existing airport service road, to accommodate two-way traffic.
• Lowering Northwest Drive to pass under the relocated airport exit roadway and associated utilities including a new storm and sanitary sewer lift station.
• Relocation of existing airline support facilities, in conflict with the proposed airport exit roadway, to a new building.
• Realignment of the airport exit roadway and associated utilities.
• Extension of the existing vehicular tunnel that serves the airfield operations beneath landside facilities.
• Relocation of the existing parking exit plaza and construction of a new canopy.
• Construction of a new dedicated roadway from the existing parking facilities to the new parking exit plaza.
• Relocation of existing parking management operations to a new building.
• Replacement of existing rental car gasoline and MSP emergency generator diesel fuel systems.
The other projects included a major hotel constructed by a private developer; a skyway to the hotel, which was being constructed by the airport through a separate program; and a terminal service building adjacent to the new airport exit roadway.
This landside expansion at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has set the bar for planning, design, and construction of landside facilities at space-constrained airports. The design process investigated how each square foot could be used to construct new facilities. This was accomplished all while maintaining airport operations, which would impact millions of customers each year if shut down.
The project has been highly visible to the millions of customers that use Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport each year. This new infrastructure will serve as a gateway to Minnesota for decades to come. Total construction cost: $108.1 million.
This year’s “Minnesota Governor’s Award,” sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics, was presented by Aeronautics Director Cassandra Isackson to the City of Milaca, Minnesota for its turf runway project at Milaca Municipal Airport (18Y).
Milaca has a population of approximately 3,000 residents and is located 70 miles north of the Twin Cities. Milaca is the county seat of Mille Lacs County.
Milaca Municipal Airport has a 2900 ft. by 150 ft. grass runway. The airport has 30 based aircraft and 16 hangars. It received its first grant in 1968 and the airport was licensed on June 2, 1969. The airport is supported by the city and the State of Minnesota but is not eligible for FAA funding.
Milaca Municipal Airport is open year-round, which means that the runway gets plowed in the winter, which can be hard on a turf surface. It was noted during the award presentation that the maintenance staff at the airport does a wonderful job of keeping the turf in top condition. A lot of the credit goes to Steve Burklund, who served as the airport manager from 1993 to 2017. “We always say that every airport needs someone to love it and for almost 25 years, Steve Burklund was that person,” said Isackson. The current airport manager is John Oldenburg.
In addition to having one of the finest turf runways in the state, Milaca Municipal Airport has 100LL self-serve fuel, a picnic area, an area for underwing camping, a courtesy car for transient pilots, and the runway is lighted.
Each year Milaca Municipal Airport hosts a pancake breakfast the first weekend after EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. This year, the fly-in will celebrate its 50th anniversary on August 5, 2018.
The “MCOA Academic Scholarship” went to Pasindu Dilmin Perera, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Management at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
MCOA established the scholarship for students studying aviation management who are either enrolled at a Minnesota college or university, or who are Minnesota residents enrolled at a college or university outside the state. The scholarship is a one-time award of $1,000.
The Minnesota Airports Conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Office of Aeronautics, and facilitated by the Airport Technical Assistance Program (AirTAP) of the University of Minnesota.
The 2018 conference commemorated the 75th anniversary of state aeronautics in Minnesota. In 1943, the Minnesota Aeronautics Commission became the Minnesota Department of Aeronautics. In the same year, a constitutional amendment was proposed (and ultimately passed in 1944) that would allow the state to collect taxes and build airports. Today, the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics serves airports, airport tenants and pilots throughout the state and is located in St. Paul.