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Published July 10, 2013, 03:28 PM

Grand Forks International Airport seeks $2.3 million expansion

GRAND FORKS - Grand Forks International Airport is planning a $2.3 million expansion to add more parking to keep up with the number of passengers and to expand FedEx’s sorting facility.

By: Robb Jeffries, Forum News Service, INFORUM

GRAND FORKS - Grand Forks International Airport is planning a $2.3 million expansion to add more parking to keep up with the number of passengers and to expand FedEx’s sorting facility.

Airport officials came before the Grand Forks City Council’s finance committee Monday to seek the city’s bonding authority, which would allow the airport to get lower interest when issuing a bond. They’ll ask the same of the County Commission Tuesday.

The airport itself would make the bond payments.

The estimated cost of the parking lot is $1.5 million and the FedEx expansion is $884,000.

The finance committee gave the airport its blessings and the full council is scheduled to vote on the airport’s proposal Monday.

Allegiant growth

Patrick Dame, the airport’s executive director, said the new parking lot would have 223 parking spots. He said the new lot would be “slightly bigger” than the A parking lot and about half the size of the B lot.

Parking has been a constant issue the last few years, he said.

“We have been expanding, and it’s constantly been catch-up,” he said. “Come winter, we tend to run out of parking stalls, so hopefully this will help.”

Dame said increased operations, including the opening of the new terminal, have factored into the added traffic. In a memo to the city council, he wrote passenger traffic at the airport has grown about 53 percent since 2008, and expects 150,000 passengers this year driven largely by Allegiant Air.

Dame did not have specifics about FedEx’s expansion. Calls from the Herald to a FedEx spokesperson were not returned.

The airport authority is considering raising parking fees and reducing free parking from every sixth and seventh day to just every seventh day to help repay the bond, Dame’s memo said. It is also considering raising rents on farmland it leases out.

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