By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — State representatives joined city officials on Tuesday afternoon on possible details of the $4 Million approved by the state budget that will be going into improvements for Alexander Field.
While it has not yet been decided exactly what to do with the money, airport officials are confident that a few projects will stand out over others. The $4 million upgrade was a part of the state budget past month for an airport that will likely see increased traffic from the new Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome.
“You don’t always get opportunities like this that come around that are successful,” said Mayor Zach Vruwink on legislation attempts to push through such an approval. “I think it’s awesome to celebrate moments like that, but to acknowledge that at times you put six or seven proposals forward; you may not be successful — so thanks to everyone involved in that.”
According to Representative Scott Krug (R-Rome) this is just the start of future economic development of the Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding areas.
“I think it speaks to the bigger trajectory of where things are going in the Wisconsin Rapids area — that people are finally working together and not worried about who’s taking credit for things and just making sure that things are getting done.” said Krug. “We’re making sure we’re working with local stakeholders; making sure we’re working with Sand Valley — economic development as a whole really needed this infrastructure investment.”
Earlier this year, Senator Patrick Testin visited Wisconsin Rapids with city leaders and combed over the areas of needed economic development, as well as future city projects — this includes the potential impact from the Sand Valley course in Rome.
“Obviously with the development of Sand Valley coming, and the course officially opened up on May 1, and we had 100 flights coming in for preview play,” said Sen. Patrick Testin. (R-Stevens Point) “It says a lot that people from around the world are coming here to central Wisconsin and they see opportunity here — they’re not just coming here to play golf; they want to invest in our workforce and the area.”
While nothing is set in stone yet, according to airport manager Jeremy Sickler, there will be specific upgrades that are likely to be focused on. These include:
-Existing Apron Expansion: This will include the installation of a new base course and pavement to better support the weight of coming jets into the airport. This also breaks down to include further expansion of Taxiway B for “enhanced circulation” as well as multiple concrete pads to accommodate larger aircrafts.
-Multiple Taxiway Constructions: These will serve to connect the apron to the runway and one to serve as the future corporate hangar area. This will include new lighting and drainage improvements among these taxiways, as well as new bituminous surface and base courses.
While not exact, the total projected cost for the above projects comes in at around $4.7 million. These projects will be helped along by MSA Professional Services, who also have a hand in the coming aquatics center, as well as the recently built Mead splash pad.