Eastern Iowa Airport to use ARPA funding to complete ongoing terminal updates

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The Eastern Iowa Airport is getting ready to begin its final phase of planned updates. The multi-million dollar project to update the terminal began in 2014. The airport split the project into four phases, with three of those phases completed.

During the first phase, crews updated the outside of the airport. Phase two included updating all of the ticket areas for airlines and rental cars.

Phase three of the terminal modernization project was completed in 2020, right before the pandemic.

“So all new gates so gates 1,2 and 3, our new seating areas, you’ll see it’s just much wider,” Airport Director Marty Lenss pointed out.

Phase three added The High Porch restaurant, a couple of new jet ways, new restrooms, a Java House for coffee, and a new security screening checkpoint.

”When people come to Eastern Iowa one thing, it might be their first trip in. We really want them to land, be given a bit of a shock at what they walk into,” Lenss said.

It’s something Doug Neumann at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance says benefits the area.

”From an economic development standpoint and from a tourism standpoint the airport is really an important first impression for people,” Neumann explained.

Now the airport has started designing its fourth and final phase. Governor Reynolds recently announced plans to allocate $100 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to airports in the state. The Eastern Iowa Airport is eligible and anticipating $28.3 million of that.

“I mean this puts us in a position to move on the project and we’ll launch the project for sure with this type of help,” Lenss said.

Phase four will update this final section of the airport with things like wider gates, adding an outdoor space, concessions, a dog relief area, a quiet room for children with special needs, and 4 additional jet ways. All of this while the airport continues to see more and more people coming through.

“February numbers are in and it was the second busiest February in the history of the airport. We outpaced our 2019 passenger numbers by about 4%,” said Lenss.

Phase four construction will begin next spring. The total cost of all four phases is expected to fall between $100-$105 million.

Lenss told TV9 the ARPA money the airport will be getting will help this ongoing project reach its finish line.

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