Runway expansion a milestone for Camdenton area airport

Joyce L. Miller
Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
Camdenton Memorial-Lake Regional Airport.

After more than a decade of planning and construction, the first jet landed on the expanded Camdenton Memorial-Lake Regional Airport runway within hours of it opening.

The runway officially opened on July 2. It is open for daylight hours only until the lighting is finished. The runway expansion project has taken more than 10 years to make its way through approval, funding and construction to expand the former 4,000 foot runway.

The project was funded by a $5 million aviation grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The expanded runway is the final improvement after years of small improvements to weather systems and runway approaches to allow use of the facility by larger corporate aircraft. The runway was the most critical component of the plan that the city and airport operator say will open more opportunities for Camdenton, the westside and the lake area in general.

Camdenton City Administrator Jeff Hooker said the runway project has been a long time in the making. Having an airport that can handle larger jets is an advantage when attracting developers to the area.

“It is exciting for not only Camdenton, but the entire lake area,” Hooker said.

The runway is a milestone for the airport. In 2007, the plan was set in place. Corey Leuwerke, owner of Camdenton’s fixed-based operator Lake Aviation Center, says the biggest hurdle was getting the idea through the state. The idea had to be pitched to MoDOT Aviation, which meant they were in a race against multiple other state airports for funds.

After three to four years of working with the city, county commissioners and MoDOT to do studies and more to justify the airports importance and economic impact, Leuwerke says they were able to get their foot in the door. The next step was an environmental impact study. With federal money, lots of small environmental factors had to be taken into account. Even down to something as specific as the bat populations in neighboring trees.

Finally, before any grant money could be accepted, land acquisition had to be sorted out. The city worked with about 20 parcels of land to gain the needed land for the runway expansion.

In August of 2019, the city was able to move forward with construction.

“It’s exciting to see the project come through,” he said. “This really opens up Camdenton and the westside for development. I started working with the city on this when I came here in 2007.”

To find out more about the Camdenton Memorial-Lake Regional Airport visit http://www.lakeaviationcenter.com/lakeaviationcenter.