The former National Guard armory on the Eastern Iowa Airport grounds will be demolished in fiscal year 2024, making way for a pair of new commercial aircraft hangars. At its meeting Monday morning, the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission approved plans to apply for state grant funds for the demolition and construction projects through the Iowa […]
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The former National Guard armory on the Eastern Iowa Airport grounds will be demolished in fiscal year 2024, making way for a pair of new commercial aircraft hangars.
At its meeting Monday morning, the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission approved plans to apply for state grant funds for the demolition and construction projects through the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The main National Guard armory building, along with associated outbuildings, has been vacant since it was acquired by the airport from the state of Iowa in March 2012. The Guard facilities were vacated after the $38 million Cedar Rapids Armed Forces Reserve Center and Field Maintenance Shop opened in October 2011.
Demolition of the main armory building, consisting of a 51,357-square-foot building on a five-acre site, along with site restoration, will cost an estimated $838,000. The armory’s gymnasium will not be demolished, airport officials say, and other former Armory outbuildings being leased by a variety of government agencies and businesses will also remain in place.
The airport is requesting a grant through the state’s Airport Improvement Program for $419,000, half the cost of the Armory demolition.
Once the demolition is complete, the airport will build two aircraft hangars on the site. The two hangars, each 3,600-square-foot, single-story pre-engineered metal buildings, will include offices, restrooms, storage, a conference room and space for general aviation aircraft.
Cost of the two hangars will total an estimated $1.939 million. The airport is requesting a $453,106 grant from the state’s Commercial Service Vertical Infrastructure (CSVI) program.
The airport currently has seven executive hangars constructed in the 1970s and 1980s, and all are fully occupied with a waiting list for potential clients, according to the commission’s meeting packet.
Airport reserve funds will be used to fund the balance of the demolition and construction projects.
Airport director: $10 million grant to Des Moines airport ‘interesting process’
Later in Monday’s meeting, Eastern Iowa Airport director Marty Lenss told the commission about a $10 million allocation approved in February to the Des Moines International Airport from the state’s Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF).
The allocation will be used to help fund the Des Moines airport’s expansion and renovation project, a three-phase plan with a current estimated cost of $770 million.
Mr. Lenss termed the $10 million allocation to the Des Moines airport an “earmark,” noting that no other Iowa airports were offered an opportunity to request a portion of the RIIF funds.
“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Mr. Lenss said, noting that the allocation may have already been approved before he testified at an RIIF hearing in Des Moines earlier this year.
Mr. Lenss acknowledged that the Eastern Iowa Airport had already received a $28.35 million grant from the Iowa DOT in June 2022 as part of $100 million in ARPA funds awarded to Iowa airports through the Iowa Commercial Aviation Infrastructure Fund (ICAIF). Those funds are being used to complete the final phase of the $121 million terminal modernization project that began in 2014.
However, the latest $10 million award to the Des Moines airport, which he termed a “one-off” allocation, is unprecedented in state history, he said.
“We certainly were there representing CID and our needs as the state’s second-largest airport and the largest airport in Eastern Iowa,” Mr. Lenss said. “It is what it is. It’s unfortunate.”
It now appears that the Eastern Iowa Airport needs to more aggressively assert its own needs in the future when seeking grant funds, he said.
“We either have a system plan of airports or we do not,” he said. “(We have) no problem competing … They're moving (toward) putting less emphasis on the system plan, and there's going to be winners and losers. We’ve got to think about how to respond to that strategically. The state's two largest airports should generally be in sync on legislative (issues), both federal and state, and that's just not where we're at.”