Summer upgrades proceed

FAIRMONT – This summer, $5 million is going into improvements at Fairmont’s municipal airport, with much of the bill covered by state and federal grants.

Most of the funds are going into the main runway, its blemished surface having been patched to the max with sealcoats.

In 2010, the airport’s crosswind runway was reconstructed.

While work is under way on the 5,500-foot runway, pilots are temporarily using the taxiway.

Reconstruction of the runway has included a process called cold in-place recycling. Several inches of existing pavement was milled up, then mixed with oil, and then smooshed into place with a giant paver.

Other improvements slated at the airport include re-doing the apron and terminal, replacing the lighting, installing a new beacon and a new wind cone – a fancy wind sock.

“Mid-September is the completion date for that,” said Troy Nemmers, Fairmont’s public works director.

In addition to the airport, the new water treatment plant, and the Lair Road bridge project, the public works director has been busy overseeing continuing improvements to Winnebago Sports Complex, reconstruction of a portion of Elm Street, and overlay and sealcoating to numerous other streets.

“The sports complex we’re still working on making it better,” Nemmers said, particularly to level the new infield and outfield.

“We’re going to be trying to continually improve the facility,” he said.

The $1.35 million project began in August 2011. The expanded sports complex now has three softball fields and one baseball diamond, a concession stand, a one-mile walking trail and fencing, as well as storm sewer and curb and gutter.

“We’ve had a lot of activity out at the sports complex,” Nemmers said. “This weekend, we’re going to have 42 softball teams here for girls soft-pitch.”