Turlock seeks $100,000 federal grant for airport planning

jholland@modbee.comJune 24, 2014 

— The City Council voted Tuesday to seek $100,000 in federal money to update the plan that guides the small, city-owned airport eight miles east of town.

The 4-0 vote, with Mayor John Lazar absent, was on an application to the Federal Aviation Administration. The city will use $5,000 in state grant money and $6,111 in airport income to provide the 10 percent match required by the federal agency.

The plan describes airport facilities, activity levels and other data about the airport, which is operated for the city by the Turlock Regional Aviation Association. No general fund money is involved.

The update would look about 10 to 15 years into the future, said Allison Van Guilder, director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities for the city. The airport’s relatively low usage, and the options available at other locations, could mean that a runway expansion might not be needed, she said.

The airport, which lies along East Avenue just inside Merced County, started as a World War II training field and came under city ownership in 1947.

Also Tuesday, the council:

• Postponed a vote on applying for about $2.54 million in state money for wellhead treatment and water conservation to help the city stretch its groundwater-fed system. City Manager Roy Wasden said the application needs more time because it will be a regional one that includes Ceres and Modesto.

• Voted 4-0 to continue having one police officer each at Turlock and Pitman high schools in the next school year. Turlock Unified School District will pay $10,833 per month for each officer for salary and other costs, plus overtime if needed.

• Accepted three $500 donations for the new Recreation on Wheels program at Denair Park, intended to reclaim the small downtown site from transients who have caused problems. The money came from three Turlock-area businesses: Mann Electric, B&B and Bergman Landscape. The program offers games, crafts and family activities from 10 a.m. to noon each Tuesday and Friday.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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