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Austin Blvd. rerouting plan may change with runway extension

Plans for the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport include safety upgrades, more hangars and development, taxiway realignment, and a runway extension, but may not require rerouting Austin Boulevard as proposed.

Lengthening the airport’s runway from 5,000 to 5,500 feet is a key element of the 527-acre site’s future, and realigning Austin is part of the multi-million dollar plan awaiting federal approval and funding.

But the plan could change, said Terry Slaybaugh, director of the Dayton International Airport, which owns the Miami Twp. site.

“That’s really a placeholder,” he said of the plan to relocate Austin to the north.

“We have not studied the relocation of the roadway or potentially what we would do if we make these improvements,” Slaybaugh said.

The airport plans on soliciting proposals at the end of 2017 to begin an environmental impact statement that would look at all options and what is feasible.

“That could involve a deck with the runway going over the roadway or we could go in a different direction in getting additional feet onto the runway,” Slaybaugh said. “So that’s something we’ll begin to look at next year.”

The runway extension would help the airport upgrade its classifications to increase its speed authority and accommodate more and slightly larger aircraft, officials have said.

Most models of aircraft that use the facility require a runway more than 5,000 feet long when fully loaded on a hot summer afternoon, described as the “most demanding” conditions, according to Passero Associates, the engineering firm that worked on DWBA’s plan.

The airport is now permitted for knot speeds that translate to a range of about 104-140 miles per hour. The classification change would increase the range to roughly 140-162 miles per hour, airport officials have said.

Aside from the runway project, property on the airport’s east and west sides has been cleared to improve safety, large tracts have been earmarked for aviation and non-aviation development, and studies and discussions on land use have involved the Miami Twp.-Dayton Joint Economic Development District Board and Washington Twp., which borders the airport to the east.

Meanwhile, officials are preparing for more than $1.5 million upgrades next year, realigning a taxiway and development on the site’s east and west sides.

Trees and other vegetation were cut down in recent weeks in work that was funded by a state grant. The main reason, Slaybaugh said, “is because of their height and their proximity to the runway and the taxiway.

Plans call for the taxiway to be relocated to run parallel to the runway. Funding remains a question for the taxiway work, he said, and it may be done in phases.

But airport officials have land a $500,000 state grant to repair a ramp in the aircraft parking area on the site’s east side. That project is expected to be bid and begin next year, Slaybaugh said.

More aircraft hangars are also in the works. The city expects to begin replacing hangars, which hold about a dozen planes, next year. The city has raised about $1 million for the project through a bond sale, he said.

A couple of aircraft owners have approached officials about building hangars for their own aircraft.

“Every hangar we have is full,” Slaybaugh said.

Miami Twp.-Dayton JEDD board has agreed to contract with Juniper CRE Solutions, which will provide a study the highest and best uses of land.

Board Vice Chairman Ford Weber said “preliminary” talks have started about the possibility of Washington Twp. jointing the tax-sharing district.

Washington Twp. Administrator Jesse Lightle there haven’t been any new developments on the issue in more than a month.

Several properties in Washington Twp. adjacent to the airport are part of the discussions, JEDD records show. An access road would be needed if the land in Washington Twp. would become part of the joint district, Slaybaugh said.

“I think they’re still vetting that out, trying to determine what the level of interest is from the property owners that will be affected by it,” he said. “We’re still waiting for that process to play itself out.”

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