This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Aviation and Bicentennial

I forgot to mention in the last post that Fountain Stone Theater's Family Film Festival schedule has been posted. The first film is June 10.

On Wednesday night I attended part of the monthly Jasper County Airport Authority Board meeting. The main item was a discussion of the proposed fuel farm. (I have no idea why it is called a farm but it is.) This improvement, which has been discussed for several years, would be partially funded by a grant from the FAA. Since the airport has not taken a grant from the FAA for several years, they should be eligible for about a $450,000 grant. They can also expect a state matching grant of $25,000. Costs over that will come from the Authority. The process is already well along for this year. The engineering company that provides technical assistance had opened the one bid they received for tanks (a tank for general aviation fuel and another for jet fuel) and it was for $316,000. (I am not 100% sure on that number.) Nine companies had been specifically invited to submit bids. Because a local contractor was interested in submitting a bid for the site preparation, they had not yet opened the bids for that part of the process but expected to do that next week. The engineering company and the board will then have three weeks to consider the merits of the bids before next months meeting.

The big decision in June will be whether or not to submit a grant application to the FAA. If a grant application is submitted, the FAA has no firm timeline on when they approve it, but if they do approve it, they may want a commitment within a week or possibly in as short a time as 38 hours. There was some discussion about how much the Airport Authority would be paying for the project. The back of the envelope calculations suggested it would be a bit less than $200,000. Unlike last year when they did the calculations, they should not need to finance their contribution. There is money in the budget that should allow them to cover it.

There was discussion of other matters, including proposals for website construction. The Airport does not have a website but the FAA has told them they need to have one. In the various discussions I learned that fire extinguishers have a twelve year life but aviation fuel is supposed to be used within nine months.

On Thursday morning there was a meeting in the Court House about the upcoming Indiana Bicentennial. Did you know that there is an Indiana Bicentennial website, www.indiana2016.com?
There was discussion about the torch relay--Jasper County will have the torch only for an hour and a half. There is no money from the state to fund anything other than nature preserves. The state park system got started with the centennial celebrations, and a goal of the bicentennial is to have nature preserves within a 20 miles of all citizens. There is land being purchased for that purpose in the northern part of the state that will connect the tow parcels of the Tefft Savanna Nature Preserve. There is still a bit of unallocated money but it probably will not last long.

The major emphasis on the meeting was to get local festivals and events endorsed by the Bicentennial Committee. So far about 200 events have been endorsed in the state, but none from Jasper County. Clearly all the festivals in the county could qualify and a number of other events should also have no problems getting listed, things like Chautauqua, the County Fair, Cruise Night and maybe even the productions of the Children's Summer Theater and the Carnegie Players. Endorsement puts the event on a state calendar and allows the event to use the logo of the Indiana Bicentennial. It may also aid in raising funds. It takes about fifteen minutes to fill out the form on the website and a letter of support is also needed (and that could be a city or county official or perhaps someone from the county tourism board. If you are interested in more, check out the website or contact your local tourism people.

Another thing I forgot to mention in the last post is that the corn is sprouting in the fields. Summer is here.

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