VIENNA - A $94,200 grant allowing the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to replace its main water line to the terminal will save 129 jobs and create 39 others, officials said Friday during a check presentation.
The state Appalachian Development Grant will be matched by money from a $3.6 million bond for the Western Reserve Port Authority, which operates the airport.
The grant will be used to replace about 700 feet of water line with eight-inch ductile iron water line; replace a four-inch service connection water line; replace about 350 feet of copper water line in and near the terminal; install two more emergency fire hydrants, and install eight-inch capped service connectors to the east site development project.
Kathy Zook, program manager for the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, said the project will preserve and create jobs at 13 companies at the airport.
She said 18 grant applications handled by Eastgate for Trumbull, Mahoning and Ashtabula counties since 2008 have produced $2.6 million in federal and state dollars, creating or saving 6,500 jobs.
Jason Wilson, director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia, said the water line will benefit everything from aircraft de-icing operations to drinking fountains.
He said the grant is "fulfilling the mission" of the Appalachia office.
Airport Aviation Director Dan Dickten, who credited Kevin Kern with writing the grant application, updated visitors on efforts to increase flights at the airport.
Noting the airport's passenger "load" factor is among the highest, while the cost overhead is second lowest, for current airline Allegiant, he said efforts are being made to add flights to Punta Gorda or Fort Lauderdale in Florida, along with Las Vegas.
Dickten said one promising effort would involve flights Saturday and Sunday by United to Washington Dulles airport, which would provide more than 100 connections to other destinations, including 30 overseas.
"I think we're on the cusp of daily service," he said, adding officials are "trying to shed (the airport's) 'black hole' reputation."
Other projects planned for the bond issue include terminal improvements and construction of T-hangars to attract more general aviation business that might stem from companies drilling in the nearby Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas fields.
"The goal is not to just have people fly out, but to bring people in to spend dollars," Dickten said.