New terminal plans move forward

ALPENA — Plans for a new terminal at Alpena County Regional Airport continue to move forward and a groundbreaking on the project could happen in the fall. The county, however, is now considering its options on what to do with the current terminal should a new one be built.

At Thursday’s airport committee meeting Airport Manager Steve Smigelski said it is possible the county will get design plans before the end of the week. He said there still will need to be some minor technical tweaks by consultant RS&H, but for the most part everyone will be able to see what the interior of the new facility will look like.

RS&H will continue to finalize the design and when it is complete, Smigelski said it will be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration and the project will be considered for discretionary funding. In order to build the terminal the FAA will cover the largest portion of the cost and Michigan Department of Transportation and the county will pick up small amounts.

According to Smigelski, plans need to be submitted to the FAA before the end of July and then the decision on the funding will come in the fall. He said once the airport gets the notice to proceed from the FAA, construction could begin.

“The FAA will announce in September where they are putting funding for discretionary projects, so we should know in August if we have the grant to proceed,” Smigelski said. “We expect to get the notice to proceed the end of of September or early October and then we can break ground by demolishing to the north hangar.”

The county also is considering hiring RS&H to draft a plan and a cost estimate for a complete renovation of the current terminal. Smigelski said if improvements are made, and things like a restaurant are added, there is a possiblity it could be a revenue driver for the county.

“It would have an all new HVAC system, a kitchen for a bar, restaurant, administrative offices, a conference room to rent would all be part of the plan,” he said. “I asked RS&H for a very early, non-committal estimate to rehab the building and make money from it and they said it would be $400,000 to $500,000 would cover a full refit of that building.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.