An expansion of the cargo apron of the Springfield-Branson National Airport will be funded with a $500,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Springfield City Council approved an ordinance to accept the grant from MoDOT’s Freight Enhancement Program at its Sept. 23 meeting.
The $500,000 grant will be matched by $500,000 in airport funds to allow the extension of the existing cargo apron, an area off the runway where airplanes load and unload.
Brian Weiler, the airport’s director of aviation, told council the grant would help move freight more smoothly through the airport.
“It is designed to remove freight bottlenecks and expand freight-related economic development within the state of Missouri,” Weiler said.
The grant program is designed to support nonhighway transportation projects and can be used on railroads, river ports and airports, Weiler said.
“The airport intends to use these funds to expand our cargo ramp, which is seeing increased activity from carriers like UPS and FedEx,” he said. “Our year-to-date freight tonnage is currently running about 7% above pre-pandemic levels. As we all know, we’re ordering more things online for home delivery, and we’re seeing the results of that.”
Construction of the 21,500-square-foot expansion of the existing cargo apron is expected to be completed next summer, Weiler said.
Council approved an appropriation of $500,000 in airport funds to match the grant, for a total allocation of $1 million for the project.
Weiler’s written explanation to council said, “Historically, the airport has had plenty of space for the air cargo operators; however, recent developments have constrained the airport’s cargo operations to the point that improvements are necessary to maintain growth opportunities.”
He added that cargo operations have steadily increased for the last several years, and operators are using larger aircraft.
“Additionally, the airport is in the process of constructing a large maintenance and repair facility for American Airlines, which reduces the available space for cargo operations,” he wrote.
The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness moved; the newest clinic for Burrell Behavioral Health opened; and Prickly Cactus Coffee relocated.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.