HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Henderson City Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday evening accepting Federal Aviation Administration grant dollars which is one of the airport's funding mechanisms.
This money will be used in the runway expansion project which has had a bumpy lift-off of its own.
At least two of the affected landowners previously turned down fair market value offers.
Despite that, it seems like the project may be gaining some traction.
Moving a runway and relocating a road are each part the same project in Henderson. However, those nearby property owners tried to pump the brakes.
For years, the Federal Aviation Administration has pushed the airport to extend its runway hundreds of feet to the west stating it is too close to KY-136.
"It’s important that our airport keep a sufficient runway length in order to allow these larger aircraft to come in,” city manager William “Buzzy” Newman said.
Those modifications are demanded so it can keep its designation as a regional airport. A shorter runway wouldn’t be able to accommodate many types of general aviation planes, and that could put economic development into a holding pattern.
“A lot of large jets fly into our airport,” Newman added. “Their insurance carriers require minimum runway lengths in order for them to land there. We have a lot of industries in town that flies customers into the airport and get quickly to our heavy industrial sites.”
In January, Henderson county leaders voted to move forward through eminent domain after two landowners near the airport turned down their offers.
Without those powers, the FAA would’ve required the more than $2 million already spent on the project to be paid back, a split between the city and county.
“This is part of an overall large expansion that will occur over several years,” Newman explained.
Project work calls for relocating some utilities along with Trigg Turner Road in addition to property acquisitions.
It could be next year before additional work gets underway.
14 News was previously told all of the land being sought is farmland. There are no homes involved.
County leaders say it’s a move to protect the airport.