JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Thousands of flights go through the Jackson County airport every year.
The airport is one of the oldest in Michigan. But decades of wear and tear have taken their toll.
“This building is vintage from 1961 and it hasn’t been updated since then for the most part,” said airport manager Juan Zapata.
Zapata is a veteran Navy pilot, but these days he’s running the airport. He said they’re dealing with outdated systems, both internally and externally.
“We do have some asbestos in the building and so 60% of the building is vacant,” Zapata explained.
Upgrades will also include new windows, heating and cooling systems, an elevator and general repairs.
“We’re going to have to replace all the windows in the building, we are going to have insulation installed on the external walls so we can make it more energy efficient. It will make the building fully compliant with ADA requirements,” Zapata continued.
The total cost for all of the repairs is around $4.7 million, with the high cost being because of the building’s age.
The airport received federal funds to cover $3.7 million, but the remaining cost will need to come from the county’s general fund.
Zapata added that the renovations will allow the airport to continue to give back to the community.
“We have an impact of $40 million a year, so that means that all the businesses that fly into Jackson or fly out of Jackson are bringing in jobs and development [to] the community,” Zapata concluded.
Final approval for airport funding will be voted on in two weeks, and if passed, upgrades would begin soon.