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LITH receives federal grant for airport project

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The village has been awarded a $498,500 federal grant to help with the ongoing safety improvements at the airport.

Money from the grant will be used to reimburse the village for land acquisition costs. The village in June bought an acre of land from Snelten Inc., an excavating company that was based in Lake in the Hills.

Since the purchase, the company has moved operations to McHenry and the village agreed to pay relocation costs as well. The final amount of the transaction is still being determined, Public Works Director Fred Mullard said.

The village plans to use the land to construct an access road, Mullard said, who added that the village hopes to start construction of the road next year.

When the road is built, the 5,375-square-foot building on the property would be torn down, Mullard said.

The village needs to build the access road as part of its continuing safety improvements.

Village officials plan to move a third of the taxiway a safe distance from the runway. The village in 2011 and 2012 relocated two-thirds of the taxiway. The remaining third is on the east end of the airport.

"We did everything we could in the short term to get the added space," Mullard said.

Moving the rest of the taxiway requires building a new aircraft parking apron, which leads to the village needing a new access road, Mullard said.

The federal grant, along with a grant for Lewis University Airport in Will County, was announced by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in a news release.

"Today's funding will help these airports continue serving their users safely and efficiently by making needed improvements and upgrades," Durbin said the news release.

The grants were awarded on a competitive basis through the Federal Aviation Administration' Airport Improvement Program, which is funded by the Airport and Airways Trust Fund.

Money that goes into trust fund comes from ticket taxes, user fees and aviation fuel taxes. The FAA determines which airport projects are the highest priority and distributes the money.

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