Corey Luewerke, owner of LAC and a longtime commercial pilot, said that it may be time for the city to consider private investments at CM-LRA as a nearly year-long waitlist for hangar space continues to mount.

As the city of Camdenton awaits a grant offer from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fund a nearly $1 million apron overlay at the Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport, one official has suggested discussions on incorporating private investments to solve a different issue.

Corey Luewerke, owner of LAC and a longtime commercial pilot, said that it may be time for the city to consider private investments at CM-LRA as a nearly year-long waitlist for hangar space continues to mount.

With LAC’s recent purchase of two training planes, Luewerke said a flight instructor has been working full-time training new single-engine pilots. Flight instruction is one of the airport’s most frequent types of customers after the housing of single-engine planes and the United States military.

“The hangars are still overflowing. I’ve had to turn people down almost every weekend, so that sometimes creates a little negatively, but there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s a good problem,” Luewerke said last Tuesday.

“Sometime when things slow down I need to sit down with Jeff (Hancock, City Administrator) — I always get people talking about wanting to build hangars and I want to see what the city’s direction of plan is for the investment out there, because we are turning down a lot of business on weekend hangars out there,” Luewerke said.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission recently submitted the municipal airport’s grant application and last year provided financial assistance in the form of a Missouri State Block Grant for $61,650 to fund the design work.

The airport’s apron, or parallel taxi, is where a majority of the air show events are held and has deteriorated over the years, becoming a concern for jet aircraft. City officials have been in agreement for more than a year and half that the project is needed as more jet traffic is anticipated from a separate runway expansion project.

“Once we receive the formal grant we will request Board approval to execute the grant, the construction contract, and the CMT (Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.) construction oversight agreement,” City Administrator Jeff Hancock said. “The project cost is just under $1 million and we have structured the project so that it will not impact the upcoming Air Show.”

The apron overlay and a 1,000-foot runway extension are the two main projects city officials and Lake Aviation Center, the airport’s Fixed Based Operator (FBO), have been discussing in efforts to enhance and expand the 192-acre airport located off Old Route 5.

The city is still in the process of acquiring all of the necessary land for the expansion using State Block Grant funding. Aldermen met in closed session recently to discuss real estate related to that project. The Board of Alderman also approved an avigation (flyover) easement for a nearby property.

The runway expansion project was approved by Missouri Department of Transportation Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012 using a 10-percent local match funding agreement. State and federal officials would supply 90 percent of the cost while the city would cover the remaining 10 percent.

However, the city was informed late in 2016 that FAA’s Central Region was not approving any expansion project funding for the next year, which is why officials decided to move forward with the apron overlay project now.