Plane photo

Denny Caruso gives bi-plane rides.

ST. MARYS — Dates for next year’s Aviation Festival and drag races, as well as upcoming projects, were topics at Monday’s St. Marys Municipal Airport Authority meeting.

Tom Catalone of the St. Marys Drag Race Association was a meeting visitor, but this time, without a donation for the SMMA, since the last drag race was the victim of a storm. The race still drew about 605 spectators, garnered some $6,000 and saw participation by 84 racers. Many still made a donation, Catalone added, and a check will be presented after the last race Sept. 22.

The drag races, as well as the American Spirit of Aviation Festival, were both chosen for the City of St. Marys’ “Top 25 events” list, in connection with the City’s 25-year anniversary.

The SMDRA will also present a flag to the Crystal Fire Department the evening of Sept. 16, Catalone said, in return for its donation.

James Catalone told board members the 2020 drag race dates will be finalized by next week.

SMMA Secretary Mary Lou Geyer confirmed letters of “thanks” were sent to the festival’s corporate sponsors.

The Elk County Cruisers organization asked that the 2020 Aviation Festival be held Aug. 22. Setting the date early, Kerchinski said, will allow the airport more time to attract more activities.

The authority voted to approve Aug. 22 as the 2020 date for the festival.

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Kerchinski added he is submitting an application for approval to the Department of Defense for the SMMA to sell Jet A fuel, which will help to bring in more funds.

Shannon Oakes, owner of West Wind Restaraunt located by the SMMA, held an anniversary celebration earlier this month, Kerchinski said, with more than 200 people attending.

ProjectsConcerning the 5010 inspection report that was recently completed, Kerchinski said some things that will be addressed include runway markings, issues with runway lighting and airport zoning issues with Jay Township.

“He was extremely happy with the condition of the airport,” Kerchinski said of the inspector.

Funds for the runway and crack-sealing projects have been approved, Kerchinski told the board. Work is expected to start Sept. 23, and a pre-construction meeting will be held in the near future. Painting and striping work will be undertaken in the spring of 2020.

A hangar rent increase, a topic at several previous meetings, was turned down until a few years into the future.

The authority discussed the more cost-effective and energy efficient option of purchasing LED lighting from Energy Efficient Inc. The lighting would help the SMMA and its fixed-base operator Denny Caruso, save money on the power bill, Kerchinski says.

The authority voted to request Caruso contribute $1,049, half of the LED lighting cost, throughout a 24-month period.

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