The Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport Board voted unanimously to accept more than $1 million in federal grant funding aimed at helping airports navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bob Whitmer, interim airport director, said during the meeting Tuesday that the two grants are being made available to the airport through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The act was a part of a $600 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress last year.
Whitmer said that funding is just now being distributed.
“Actually I was notified about this three weeks ago,” he said.
One of the grants made available to the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is for $1,006,323, and is intended to help airports recover from lost revenue and operations. A second grant totaling $3,987 is to help airports with lost revenue in concessions, including rental cars, parking and in-terminal concessions.
Whitmer recommend the board accept both grants, which are 100% federally funded and require no match from state or local governments.
Board member Brenda Clayton said there are some maintenance projects that need to be done at the airport that the grants could probably be used for, as unlike existing federal grants the airport receives, they can be used for capital improvement projects.
Board Chairman Madison Silvert asked Whitmer if there are any government mandates on how the grant money must be spent.
Whitmer said that while the new grants are really directed at combating the effects of coronavirus, what the money can actually be used for is pretty broad.
“This is going to help us right where we need it,” Whitmer said.
The airport board voted unanimously to accept the CRRSA grant funding. The board has until September 2021 to determine how to utilize the funding.
Silvert also provided board members with an update on the search for a new airport director, which he said is going well.
“The search committee did meet,” he said. “Bob (Whitmer) created an excellent group of materials for us to go over.”
Silvert said the hiring committee will be sending out notifications to those individuals that have not been chosen to move forward in the hiring process. Additional interviews with the remaining candidates will be completed in the coming weeks.
While the hiring committee is about one-week behind where it had intended to be in the hiring process at this time, Silvert said he is comfortable with how the process has gone.
“We are at a really good pace I think to make a recommendation that will be pleasing to this board and will meet the qualifications and needs of that position,” he said.