The state awarded Carroll County Regional Airport a $41,162 grant yesterday that will be used to pay for improvements to the facility outside Westminster.
A combination of federal, state and county money will fund upgrades to the airport's automated weather observation system, the purchase of snow removal equipment and the installation of a perimeter fence.
"We have already acquired and used the snow removal equipment," said Gary Horst, who supervises the airport as administrator of the county's Office of Performance Auditing and Special Projects.
"The perimeter fence is virtually done except for the access controls at the four entry gates," Horst said.
Last week, the county commissioners approved a $34,780 bid for upgrades and maintenance of the airport's automated weather observing system. The bid went to Austin Electrical of Buchanan, Va. The state grant will pay half of those costs.
Horst said the county hopes to have the weather system installed by mid-May.
The grant also reimburses the county for about $18,000 of the $340,000 cost of installing 15,000 feet of 12-foot-high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The Federal Aviation Administration paid for 90 percent of the project.
The remaining grant money will go toward the cost of the snow removal equipment."This is money we were expecting and it really helps," said Horst.
The airport, built in 1979, handles about 100,000 flights annually. The FAA considers Carroll's airport a reliever facility should other should larger airports need its services.