The City will begin a tree abatement project Monday, Feb. 26 near the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport to clear obstructions protruding into the approach slope – the path an airplane follows to land on a runway.
The project was deemed necessary by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order for the City to continue to safely accommodate the larger planes that utilize the airport. The majority of the abatement will occur west of the airport between US-127 and South Isabella Road.
According to Airport Manager Bill Brickner, the project is not only essential for the successful arrival and departure of airplanes, it is also needed for the airport to remain a driver of local economic development and business growth.
“The airport adds about $8 million of revenue to the community each year,” said Brickner. “If the trees remain, the runway will be shortened and several of our customers who fly larger planes will have to go elsewhere to land, purchase fuel and conduct business.”
Federal and state funding will pay for 95 percent of the total project costs, with the remaining five percent budgeted in the Airport Capital Improvement Plan.
Active since 1940, the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport is administered as a department within the Division of Public Works of the City of Mt. Pleasant. Covering an area of 344 acres, the airport is categorized as a General Utility Airport with two available runways.
Highlighted in this month’s “Why MP,” check out 3 reasons why the Mt. Pleasant Airport is a community treasure.
1. The City airport adds millions of dollars to the local economy each year.
Close to 1,300 aircraft utilize the airport annually, bringing visitors to the Mt. Pleasant area who stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants and patron local businesses. As a result, nearly $8 million of revenue is added to the community each year!
“When the doors open on the plane, I rarely know who’s going to be on the other side,” said Airport Manager Bill Brickner. “People use the airport for a wide variety of reasons, from selling wares and delivering emergency parts, to transferring prisoners. Even celebrities use our airport.”
Corporate aircraft are among those that use the airport regularly, serving as a means of transportation for several companies, including Morbark, Bandit Industries, Delfield, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Meijer, Walmart, Kay Jewelers and Harley Davidson – just to name a few!
2. It serves as a resource for community safety and emergency services.
Used for the U.S. Military, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police and Medi-Vac flights, the City Airport offers a quick and efficient method of transportation for those in emergency situations. With on-call staff members and a 24-hour phone line, emergency personnel rely on the airport in times of need.
Most recently, the airport housed airplanes that helped people in the paths of the hurricanes Harvey and Irma flee Texas and Florida.
In addition, the nonprofit organization, Wings of Mercy, uses the Mt. Pleasant Airport to provide free air transportation to distant medical centers for those with serious or rare illnesses in need of specialized care. Wings of Mercy connects those who can’t afford the financial burden of commercial flights with volunteer pilots who can get them there.
3. It offers educational and engaging events to promote aviation to all ages.
The Airport plays host to events organized by Chapter 907 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), a group of aviation enthusiasts who plan events tailored to engage community members of all ages in hopes of sparking interest in aviation.
This year alone, the EAA’s Young Eagles program has provided free airplane rides to approximately 120 kids between the ages of 8-17. “With each flight lasting about 20 minutes, local kids love the opportunity to fly over Mt. Pleasant and potentially their houses,” says Brickner.
Another EAA-hosted event, “Wings & Wheels,” takes place on Sept. 16. For details, check out the Facebook event page here.
For more information about the Mt. Pleasant Airport, contact Airport Manager Bill Brickner at (989) 444-1996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.