- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

MAURICE, Iowa (AP) - Officials in northwest Iowa hope a new airport that’s under construction in Sioux County will boost business.

The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1HP1Dd4 ) the $28 million project that has been in the works for more than a decade is expected to be done in 2018.

It will replace airports in in nearby Orange City and Sioux Center that lack room to expand. The runways at the current airports are too short to provide the extra distance needed in wet or snowy weather.

Officials expect the new airport will make the region more attractive to business jets, said Harold Schiebout, chairman of Sioux County Regional Airport Agency Board.

“Both communities and the county now will be more attractive to business air services,” Schiebout said. “I was just telling our board at the last meeting about a month ago that I had contact from a business that once we’re up and running would be interested in locating here.”

The airport issues have forced some businesses to cancel meetings or send executives to airports further away in Sioux City or Sioux Falls. Mark Vogel said that has been a problem for the Diamond Vogel paint maker he works for in Orange City.

“It’s usable, but it’s constrained. There are times we just don’t fly because we can’t use the airport,” said Vogel, whose company keeps a corporate plane at the Orange City airport.

The new airport will have a 5,500-foot-long runway that’s 100-feet-wide. The current Sioux Center airport has a 3,800-foot-long runway that’s 50-feet-wide. The Orange City runway is 4,250-feet-long and 75-feet-wide.

Grants from the Federal Aviation Administration are paying much of the cost of the new airport. But Orange City, Sioux Center and Sioux County are all contributing $2 million to the project.

“The new facility will have much greater safety features and be able to accommodate all business jets,” said Schiebout, who started working on the project in 1999 when he was Sioux Center’s city manager.

The grading work at the site is nearly half done. Workers will pour concrete for the new airport next year and in 2017 while the terminal and hangers are under construction.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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