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Clarion Airport Plans Paving Project, Management Changes
SHIPPENVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Due to plans for a $772,000.00 paving project at the Clarion County Airport, there was no air show or Open House this year, but Airport Manager Don Kimball said the repairs have been needed for five or six years.
(Photo: The current staff at the airport includes Dan Cyberg, Jim McCall, Kimball, and assistant manager Aidan Stahlman.)
PALO construction is apparently the low bidder for the project, according to Kimball. The project will include repaving a deteriorating section of the apron and reducing a bottleneck by the exiting hanger.
“This was on our five-year plan,” said Kimball walking on the apron. “You can see the pretty severe cracking here on the apron. It was a lot worse, and last October I filled in all of this with tar, and we’ve been trying to prevent it from getting too bad. All of this will be milled down and repaved.”
“We’re looking to move the apron out to the entrance of the hanger to relieve a bottleneck. It makes sense to fix that bottleneck with the existing project because one day we want to put another hanger there.”
Federal and state grants cover 95 percent of the project’s costs, with the airport paying only five percent or $38,603.00. The Clarion Airport is self-supporting because of airport activities.
While there is no fee for landing at the airport as long as fuel is purchased, Kimball boasts that the price of fuel at Clarion is the lowest in western Pennsylvania and very few planes land and do not purchase fuel. Clarion’s runway is also longer than Butler’s, and that may attract more people.
Clarion is now the local home to STAT Medevac and has a lease for its operation space, and that is part of local revenue for the airport.
“MedEvac moved here in April, and we’re very happy to have them. We’ve been doing a lot of business with them, and we’re keeping a business here in Clarion County,” said Kimball. “And, that’s a good thing.”
The airport also serves many area corporate connections as a normal part of business, and Kimball estimates the airport averages a business jet or a twin turbo prop once a week.
“The local businesses we support here are Allegheny Wood Products, Clarion Boards, Green Line Polymers, Colony and Commodore, and Smuckers Peanut Butter in New Bethlehem,” said Kimball. “Wood buyers fly here all of the time. We’ve had many businesses that fly in to Clarion County to look for business opportunities. They don’t have anything specific in mind, but want to see the lay of the land.”
Parents and children are also using the airport to come and visit Clarion University to pick a college. Kimball said three months out of the years he sees parents taking advantage of the airport as they select a college; flying in from Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other locations.
“We’ve had many government officials fly in here including, the Pennsylvania Attorney General last week and Governor Tom Wolf,” said Kimball.
In addition to the paving project, there is a change in management coming at the end of the year as Kimball moves on to another job and assistant Aidan Stahlman takes over.
Kimball started at the airport in March of 2014. He recently purchased the RFI warehouse in Sligo and plans to open an automotive maintenance shop. He expects to leave his position of airport manager in December.
Stahlman has served as assistant manager for a little over two years and has always loved aircraft. She took her flight training at the airport and earned her pilot’s license at Clarion.
“I enjoy what I do, and I don’t feel much pressure in taking the new position at the end of the year,” said Stahlman. “I’m just gliding into the position. It helps to have worked here for awhile.”
Her love of aircraft started with visits to the Pittsburgh airport.
“I used to go to the airport twice a year to get our grandma in Pittsburgh,” said Stahlman. “I loved airplanes and wanted to learn how to fly.”
Originally from the Corsica area, said she looks forward to the future of Clarion and possibly continue improvements.
The current staff at the airport includes Kimball, Stahlman, Jim McCall (maintenance) and Dan Cyberg (part-time maintenance).
(Photo above: Women have played a part in Clarion County aviation. The Culbertson family provided this photo of a group of women, some in uniform, at the site of the original Parker Cramer Airport in Clarion Township adjacent to the Paul Weaver Park.)
If anyone has any additional information about the photo above, please contact the Clarion County Airport.
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