Grants Pushing Delaware Airpark Runway Project Forward - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Grants Pushing Delaware Airpark Runway Project Forward

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CHESWOLD, Del. (WBOC) - It's going to be easier to fly around Kent County; that is, it will get easier to land and take off. A project to expand the Delaware Airpark in Cheswold took a large step forward Monday.

Delaware's congressional delegation announced $5 million in grant money to continue a project to build a new runway at the small airport.

It's the only general aviation airport in Kent County, and it's home to the Delaware State University aviation program. And for both purposes, a new runway is a big deal.

Clifton Baltimore is a 2013 graduate of DSU's aviation program and now one of its flight instructors. DSU is the only historically black school with its own fleet of planes.

"We currently have about 50 flight students," said Baltimore. "We're gaining 30 more in the fall semester for a total of about 80."

The pilots he trains use the airport's 3,500-ft. Runway home. But Delaware Airpark is growing and getting a new 4,200-ft runway.

"It will be parallel to the existing runway. The existing runway will become a taxiway in the future," said Stephen Williams, director of airports for the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which runs the airport. "This new runway will be able to accommodate business-class aircraft, cabin-class, twin-engine airplanes, turboprops."

Williams says that will help increase business in the area. Baltimore says it will help increase safety at the airport.

"It's really important not just for the safety of the students but also for other aircraft that visit our airport," he said.

Baltimore says there are currently obstacles to landing on the airport's runway, and the new runway will significantly reduce their impact.

The project actually started about a decade ago. It's scheduled for completion in 2017. The total cost is between $20 and 25 million.


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