Trees growing outside of the Wadena Municipal Airport have brought the city to decide to relocate and replace the airport's wind cone. It’s a large part of the estimated $125,000 in projects planned to be funded there in 2021.

The city looks to make snow removal more efficient and their windsock more reliable at the airport with the recent approvals at the Tuesday, Feb. 9 city council meeting.

Wadena City Council members approved entering into a professional services agreement with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) for architectural, engineering and professional services related to the relocation and replacement of a wind cone at the Wadena Municipal Airport. They also approved purchase of improved snow removal equipment, which will attach to current equipment. These projects are to be funded through the next FAA funding cycle.

Public Works director Dan Kovar said the snow removal equipment would cut snow removal time in half at the airport by increasing from a 9-foot plow to 16-foot.

Moving the wind cone has become important due to the trees that have grown up outside of the airport property, which are out of the control of the city, according to City Administrator Janette Bower. The trees are blocking the wind movement. The city has been mitigating this by putting out a NOTAM regarding the situation, but this is a short-term solution. A NOTAM gives notice to pilots that equipment operations are abnormal.

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The estimated fees and expenses for the professional services portion is $37,700. The estimated project cost, including the professional services is $125,000. FAA funds 90% of the costs, MnDOT Aeronautics funds 5%, and the local match (Wadena’s portion) is 5%. The required match, about $6,250, will come from the airport fund. Historically, the city pays the entire cost and receives reimbursement when the project is finished.