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Gary Airport revs up for master plan project

THE B. COLEMAN hanger at the Gary/Chicago International Airport was added as part of the facility’s Master Plan in 2001.

Officials seeks engineering firm to improve facility

Officials from the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority officials said Wed-nesday they are seeking requests for qualifications from firms that might improve the facility.

Officials are asking engineering and planning firms interested in trying to design the next two decades of airport development to submit their proposals.

Responses are due by Jan. 7, if they are to be considered by the airport authority. Companies that are interested in participating can obtain more information at

Prospective pre-qualified companies will be interviewed by the airport authority early in 2016. The authority expects to award a contract for the project by March.

Applicants for the master plan project will be required to participate in a business expo that will be held on February 24. Here, they meet with local businesses that can help fill out their project teams.

Earlier this year, the airport authority’s private partner, AFCO/AVPORTS issued a separate plan for Gary airport development. The firm suggested building a customs facility and trying to return commercial passenger airline service by 2017.

The last time the Gary/Chicago airport had a commercial flight was in 2013. That year, Allegiant Air closed down after officials said the airport wasn’t attracting enough business to the facility.

Another Master Plan Study for the airport was completed in 2001. That plan called for several major projects, including improved Runway Safety Areas, railroad and power line relocation, improved and new facilities, and extending the airport’s main runway.

The airport’s latest master plan would add to the success of the $174 million Runway Expansion Project that was completed in June 2015. The project extended the main runway by 1,900 feet, allowing the airport to accommodate larger planes and serve more destinations.

The project also upgraded runway safety areas to be in compliance with new Federal Aviation Administration standards. In addition, the project relocated nearly 5 miles of railroad track, more than 20,000 feet of power lines, and a substation.

In July, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson led a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the runway during a grand celebration.

In other news, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority board of directors vice chairman Harley Snyder announ-ced on Wednesday that he is withdrawing his name from consider-ation for reappointment to the board.

“Harley has indicated to me that he would like to provide an opportunity for a new individual to contribute to our regional pro-gress,” RDA Chairman Don Fesko said in a statement Monday.

A founding member of the RDA, Snyder has played a valuable role in securing funds for the extension of the South Shore commuter rail line. He was instrumental in completing the runway extension at Gary/Chicago International Airport and rebuilding the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Fesko said.

Snyder has agreed to continue to serve on the board until Governor Mike Pence appoints a replacement.

The RDA is a quasi-governmental development entity created by the Indiana General Assembly to make public investment decisions that support regional infrastructure projects and induce private-sector investment.

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