Airport Manager Clayton Stambaugh said the airport has thousands of flights in and out every year. He said the small airport provides an economic boost to the city, and it's convenient for area businesses. He said, "It allows business to come in and come out freely whenever they want, to get their work done."
The airport is home to four on-site businesses and about 10 companies use it regularly. Stambaugh said that's why it needs some help for the reconstruction of its ramp space.
He said the ramp has become a safety concern. Loose pieces are coming off the pavement, which he said can be a danger for airplanes.
He said, "The props pick it up, jet engines can suck it up, and that can mean real catastrophic failure of those engines and a lot of expense, that kind of thing."
He said the $500,000 dollar project is mostly paid for by those who benefit from it. Five percent of the cost is covered by the city of Pekin, but the rest is state and federal money. Stambaugh said, "The majority of that money is actually funded by aviation users who pay the aviation fuel tax and the passenger facility tax."
Stambaugh said the mill and fill work has been a top priority. He said he's glad it's finally getting done. "It's a port just like any other. It's access to transportation. You wouldn't think any differently of spending some money on a city or county road."
Two Pekin city councilmen voted against the project. Councilman Cody Hendricks said the airport continues to cost the city money and he will not support any upgrades until has a plan that will increase its bottom line.