Airport maps future

By Jessica Kalin

Weather systems, new hangars and property expansion are potential projects at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport to accommodate DeKalb County’s growth.

The airport, 3232 Pleasant St., has made $41 million in improvements over 20 years. Federal funding covered 95 percent of the costs.

“We have gone from a dirt strip with a hump in the middle to a completely modern facility,” said Rick Monas, DeKalb’s director of public works.

There is a demand to make the airport larger and more efficient because stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Barnes & Noble are using it to transport goods and people, said Tom Cleveland, airport manager.

The new systems will make Taylor an all-weather airport.

The airport plans to install in 2005 a glide slope runway, a Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System and acquire land to install lights. The land would be purchased at fair market value from private owners.

The airport finished extending the runway from 2,255 feet to 7,255 feet in June.

Cleveland said that before DeKalb was able to handle large corporate jets, companies would have to land at the Aurora Municipal Airport 24 miles away and transport passengers or goods to DeKalb.

“Urban sprawl is coming and we are getting a lot of people from Naperville and Fox Valley to base [aircraft] here,” Cleveland said.

Midwest Flight Academy established a flight school at the airport two years ago. The academy has 16 high school students, of which the seniors can receive credit at Kishwaukee College.

The airport’s classroom has a flight simulator. The school received $10,000 from the DeKalb County Community Foundation to purchase two more simulators.

The five- to eight-year plan for the airport includes new hangars, an air traffic control tower and other improvements.