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Airport management firm planning public open house

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

In January, a private company took over management of the Shelbyville Municipal Airport with the goal of improving and expanding the facility to attract more business.

Now Aero Management Group wants to invite the public to an open house at the airport, 3529 N 100 W, northwest of Shelbyville.

“We’d like to have a small aerobatics air show and air demonstrations,” Ryan Maxfield, director of business development at AMG, told the airport’s board of directors on Friday.

Aero Management would put on discovery flights for those interested in learning to fly and have food vendors and inflatables for the kids, along with a fly-in, drive-in pancake breakfast, he added. The company would cover the cost.

They’d also like to arrange a way to give something back to the community as well, such as gifts to SCUFFY or the animal shelter, Maxfield said.

No formal plans are set at this point, but Elmer Brattain, president of the airport’s board of directors, was enthusiastic.

“Sounds really, really good,” he said.

In other matters, the board discussed at length a proposal by Aero Management and United Construction Services of Harbor Springs, Michigan, to build a new transient hangar at the 520-acre airport.

The hangar would be used to park planes temporarily for visitors flying in.

Duane Wixson, chief operating officer for United Construction, said they could have the new hangar finished early in 2019.

“I think we could deliver this project before February next year,” he said, at a cost of about $1.5 million.

However, Trent Meltzer, city attorney for Shelbyville, said there may be legal complications because of Indiana law. 

United Construction is a construction management company and if the work is done as a construction management project, under state law the city would have to put it out to bid.

After extensive discussion, the board decided to have United work up preliminary drawings before proceeding with a formal vote by the airport board.

“I don’t think there’s any gap here we can’t bridge,” said David Carmony, a member of the Shelbyville Common Council and a licensed pilot.

The board also is preparing to repave a runway at the airport and is awaiting word on federal grant funding next year that would pay for 90 percent of the estimated $38,500 cost.

Plans are to eventually extend the runway from 5,000 to 6,500 feet to land larger jets.