The Paragould Municipal Airport, Kirk Field, has been approved to receive a grant for extending its taxiway.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airport is to receive $521,285 as part of $273 million in grants under both the Airport Improvement Program and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to Paragould Airport Commission Chairman Lynn Ratliff, the grant will enable the connection of the two sections of the taxiway to the west of the paved runway.

“Right now, they’re not connected,” he said. “So you have to taxi onto the ramp to go from the north taxiway to the south taxiway.”

The “ramp” is basically a parking lot for aircraft not in hangars. Ratliff said to use the ramp to taxi is an inconvenience rather than a hazard.

“But they [at the FAA] like to have all that stuff fixed up properly,” he said, adding that the effort to link the taxiways has been ongoing for some time. “So we knew it was coming. We just didn’t know when.”

Airport manager Roger Slayton said the project had been in work for two to three years. He acknowledged having to use the ramp sometimes created difficulties for some of the larger jets that use the airport.

Ratliff said the grant, as is the case with most grants from the FAA, is a 90-10 match. What is unusual about this grant is the split.

“Usually we have to provide 10 percent of the money as our match,” he said, “but this time the CARES Act is providing the 10 percent. So it’s 100 percent federal funded.”

Kirk Field is one of six airports in Arkansas to receive federal grant money under AIP and CARES for airport improvements. A total of 184 airports in 41 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Puerto Rico received the funding.

The grants ranged from $27,282 to install vertical and visual guidance lights at the airport in Wellsville, N.Y to $21,122,178 to expand the airport terminal at Wilmington, N.C.

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