City Accepts FAA Grant for Phase II of Terminal Expansion at MHK

City CommissionThe Manhattan City Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to accept a grant offer of $5.3 million from the FAA for Phase II of the Terminal Expansion Project at Manhattan Regional Airport.

The City’s portion of the $7.2 million Phase II project is roughly 1.9 million. City Administration have planned all along to pay for that portion with fees, however there’s one slight issue with that strategy. The annual debt service for both phases of the project will overlap in 2019 and total roughly $579 thousand per year, however the expected PFC collections will total just $268 annually.

While the City waits for PFC collections to catch up to the total amount for debt service on the bonds, the City will look at several options to cover the deficit.

“Things to be considered to utilize in order to make up that deficit would be sales taxes, economic development fund, or property tax,” said Peter Van Kuren, airport director of Manhattan Regional Airport.

Construction of phase two will begin immediately following the completion of phase one in October.

Boost to Cell Coverage

The Commission also discussed a proposal Tuesday from Wildflower Telecommunications, LLC to construct a Distributed Antenna System in Manhattan, which would benefit Verizon Wireless customers.

“With the small cell technology you have stronger signals, more even coverage, faster download speeds, fewer dropped calls, just overall more reliable service,” said Jill Droge, director of sales for ideatek, Wildflower’s parent company.

The 48 small cell towers would act as a feeder network to the macro cell tower for Verizon customers in town. The idea is that the feeder network would lessen the burden on the main tower during heavy usage periods.

A majority of the Commission expressed interest in further exploring Wildflower’s proposal.