Airport to start flights again after runway work completed

IRON MOUNTAIN — A runway rehabilitation at Dickinson County’s Ford Airport was expected to be completed in time for commercial flights to resume at 10:30 a.m. today, County Controller Brian Bousley said.

Airport Manager Tim Howen is pleased with the efforts of Bacco Construction of Iron Mountain and other contractors on the $5.4 million project, Bousley told the county board Monday.

The main runway, which hadn’t been resurfaced since 1999, was shut down during the 15-day job as crews worked around the clock to stay on schedule. Federal funding covered $4.85 million of the cost for the resurfacing and related improvements. The county and the Michigan Department of Transportation each paid $269,000.

The runway is about 6,500 feet in length and 150 feet wide. SkyWest Airlines serves the airport with flights to Minneapolis and Detroit.

In other action, the county board:

— Will allow MJ Electric LLC of Iron Mountain to proceed with plans for a new hangar at Ford Airport. The proposed 80-by-80-feet structure will be on the airport’s southeast side, with outside space for an above-ground jet fuel tank.

— Heard Commissioner Joe Stevens report “negotiations are continuing” on the sale of Dickinson County Healthcare System to Bellin Health Systems of Green Bay, Wis. An asset purchase agreement has been approved by both parties and July 1 has been targeted as a closing date. The board met in a closed session with DCHS on April 30. Stevens is the county board’s liaison to the hospital board.

— Received a report from Friend of the Court Heidi Van Slooten, whose office again ranked first in the Upper Peninsula for cost-effectiveness, and fourth among 83 counties in the state. Stevens described that performance as “phenomenal.”

— Voted 3-2 to deny a $1,000 contribution to the Lake Antoine Association to combat the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil. There were no qualms about the request, but Chairman Henry Wender and commissioners Ann Martin and John Degenaer Jr. said other lake groups in the county deserve the same consideration. Commissioner Barbara Kramer, who joined Stevens in supporting funding, said Lake Antoine “is our only county park.”

The county cut off financial aid for watermilfoil treatments several years ago. It has since turned over Norway Lake Park to Felch Township, Gust Newberg Park at Sawyer Lake to Sagola Township, and Lake Mary Park to Waucedah Township.

— Adopted a resolution to support National Bicycle Month and Michigan Bicycle Month, acknowledging the economic, health and scenic benefits of bicycling and recognizing the efforts of the Dickinson County Bike Path Committee.

— Will advertise a vacancy on the Dickinson County Planning Commission, as Christina Tews has been unable to attend.

— Rescheduled its next meeting to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, to avoid a conflict with Memorial Day.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-3500, ext. 26, or