A project to expand and improve the apron or parking area at the Mexico Memorial Airport is getting off the ground, as the Mexico City Council voted to sign a block grant agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to cover engineering work Monday night.

Economic Development Director/Assistant City Manager Russell Runge said the expansion is necessary because of increased commercial traffic at the airport in recent years.

“Our airport is used extensively during the summer by crop duster planes,” Runge told the council. “They take up a considerable amount of space.”

Runge said the additional space is also needed for the large cargo planes carrying merchandise for area retailers when they stop at the airport to refuel.

“We've been needing to do it for a considerable amount of time,” Runge said.

The engineering firm providing the work is Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. Runge said the total cost of the project will depend on the engineering firm's findings, as the amount of clay in the soil and other factors will affect the type of paving work that is ultimately needed to complete the apron improvements.

Runge said MoDOT has allocated $76,000 in federal non-primary entitlement funds for the project. Runge said a portion of the $150,000 in block grant money the airport receives from MoDOT each year has been purposely set aside for the past four years in order to bankroll the project.

The city council also voted to approve the issuance of revenue bonds to Arthur Center Community Health for the refinance of the health center's new facility. The bond issuance will not affect the city's credit rating in any way, according to Runge.

The council also approved a resolution that will add $20,314.49 worth of improvements to the city's 2016 microseal project. The original contract price for the project was $142,748.32 and the additional work brings that total up to $163,062.81.

The change order with Missouri Petroleum Products, to be signed by City Manager Bruce Slagle, will add a section of streets located east of the Country Club Golf Course to the city's project list.

The streets that would receive the improvements are: Sunset, from the city limits north to Lake Road; Meadowlake, from Lake Road north to the cul-de-sac; and Greenridge, from Meadowlake west to the cul-de-sac.

The council also voted to once again hire the firm Williams-Keepers, L.L.C. to conduct the city's annual audit for the upcoming fiscal year.