Al Hinshaw’s last full meeting as Duncan’s mayor went just like clockwork, as Duncan’s City Council approved an FAA-required improvement to the runway at the municipal airport and voted to retain the services of City Manager Clyde Shaw for another year.

The council met in executive session to discuss Shaw’s annual review and after 30 minutes reconvened in the council chamber to approve his continued employment, pending the establishment of a new contract.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved the $242,000 project to improve Runway 35’s safety area. The project will be almost totally funded by a grant from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, with only a 10 percent match added by the city. Sewell Brothers Inc. was the successful bidder.

Extending the safety area at the end of the runway was part of the master plan for the development of the airport industrial park, and an FAA requirement, said Hinshaw, who is a retired corporate pilot.

The project was originally planned to be constructed with federal NPE (Non-Primary Entitlement) funds, but with the acquisition of the OAC grant, that money can now be used for the airport terminal project, noted Shaw.

The runway safety area is located south of the current runway. Its purpose is to add a buffer zone between air traffic and the public, therefore the land must remain undeveloped to anything that might interfere with aviation.

“There can be no school or hospital put there, or anything where people might gather,” explained Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn.

Luckily, added Shaw, the city already owns the 67 acres in question. Some of the land is used for irrigation pivots for the disposal of wastewater effluent, however the city plans to upgrade the system and remove the pivots soon.

Expanding the safety area is the first step for the city to qualify for the NPE funds needed to complete the construction of the new terminal.

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