Thursday, October 28, 2021

Naples Municipal Airport secures funding for water-management pilot project

The City of Naples Airport Authority has not only secured funds to lengthen an important taxiway at Naples Municipal Airport years ahead of schedule, but also to launch a project that could serve as a national model for water management. The Federal Aviation Administration and Florida Department of Transportation have awarded initial grants totaling almost $1.2 million for design of the Taxiway Alpha extension and improvement of the airport’s water-management system. Additional grants are expected to fund 95 percent of the project construction and two years of monitoring the results of the water-management system improvements.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin early next year and finish by November 2013. The total cost of the project is estimated at $8 million to $9 million.

“Grants are a very competitive business, and getting this one is a particularly important accomplishment,” said Airport Authority Executive Director Ted Soliday. “The water-management system will benefit the citizens of Naples and Collier County and may set a national standard for how airports should handle water-management issues.

“Water on our airfield is clean. The challenge is water from the other side of the terminals and runoff from 400 acres east of the airport, an area that is primarily industrial. The water leaving the airport and flowing into the Gordon River and Naples Bay must be as clean as possible. This project is designed to accomplish that goal,” Soliday said.

The water-management system improvements include master drainage planning, pre-project water quality and wildlife monitoring, computational fluid dynamics modeling, permitting, construction of crenels and baffles to slow water moving through existing ponds and the design and construction of automated water-monitoring systems.

Results of performance monitoring during the project’s second phase could change Florida water-management rules. A successful outcome could lead to the use of FAA guidelines for minimizing wildlife hazards in airport pond systems and adoption of the statewide Pond Design Criteria.

The airport will coordinate the project with stakeholders including the FAA, FDOT, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida’s five Water Management Districts. In addition, the City of Naples, Collier County and local environmental groups will be invited to participate in stakeholder meeting discussions and actively monitor the project.

The extension of Taxiway Alpha, included in the airport’s 2010 long-range utilization plan, will provide easier access to the end of Runway 23, which was paved last year, for aircraft leaving from the east side of the airport. The extension will enhance airport safety and operations by eliminating the need to cross the runway to reach its end for take-offs.

Naples Municipal Airport, a certificated air carrier airport, is home to flight schools, air charter operators and corporate aviation and nonaviation businesses as well as fire/rescue services, mosquito control, car rental agencies and the Collier County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit. All funds used for the airport’s operation, maintenance and improvements are generated from activities at the airport or from federal and state grants; the airport receives no property tax dollars. During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the airport accommodated more than 84,000 takeoffs and landings. FDOT values the airport’s economic impact to the community at more than $273 million annually.

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