The city of St. Joseph has taken a first step in installing a wildlife perimeter fence at Rosecrans Memorial Airport that could cost $1.5 million.
The City Council authorized an aviation project consultant agreement with Jviation Inc., for design services to install more than 19,000 linear feet of wildlife fencing around the airport property, for more than $142,000.
Airport General Manager Abe Forney said that the 8-foot-high fence will be worth the money as a safety and security feature.
“The fence will serve two purposes,” Forney said. “It’s going to keep wildlife out and it’s also going to keep pedestrians and unwanted people out of the airport safety area.”
The fence will have subterranean skirting to keep animals from burrowing under it.
Forney said there has not been an incident of a plane hitting an animal since he has been at Rosecrans, but “it only takes one.”
A federal grant administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation will provide funding for design of the fence.
“The design of the fence will be paid for 90 percent with a grant and then 10 percent locally,” Forney said. “The total cost for the city is around $14,000.”
The fence may be finished as early as this fall, but there is not an official date set yet.
Forney said the construction costs will be funded by a grant and there is a possibility that the Air National Guard will assist with payment.
The improvements come as the airport has been undergoing $1.3 million in taxilane repairs near the T-hangars since late March.
“(They) had deteriorated and the drainage system we had out there was insufficient,” Forney said.
The old asphalt has been removed already and new drains have been installed. Concrete will be poured as the new surface for planes to use as a driveway to get to the hangars or runway.
The taxilanes are expected to be finished by summer and also were 90 percent funded by a Missouri Department of Transportation grant.
Rosecrans also is purchasing a new walk-in cooler/freezer for around $33,000 for the airport diner.