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Federal grant to purchase airport property larger than expected

ARLINGTON — A piece of property recently purchased near the city airport will be mostly paid for by a grant, much to the surprise of city officials.

On Sept. 8, the Arlington City Council approved a $979,781 grant — $850,000 more than the city had originally anticipated — from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund the purchase of a four-acre piece of property north of the airport.

The capital improvement grant was expected to net the city approximately $113,000 to help pay for the $1.13 million property.

But because of the current bidding environment, the FAA notified city officials that it will be upping its contribution for the property purchase.

The city had already received an $80,232 grant for the purchase.

Arlington airport supervisor Dale Carman said the airport receives a large FAA grant approximately once every three years. But this year's nearly $1 million grant comes one year after the airport received another substantial grant for capital improvements, Carman said.

The airport typically receives about $150,000 in FAA grants per year, he said.

The city fronted the initial costs for the purchase of the property after the measure gained City Council approval to move forward in July.

City spokesperson Kristin Banfield said that the city is glad to see the larger grant amount go through.

"We weren't expecting the size of the grant — that was very surprising to us," Banfield said.

During the Sept. 8 City Council meeting, Councilman Chris Raezer joked to City Administrator Alan Johnson that other city departments should follow suit with securing grants.

"Do you ever ask your other departments why they can't get grants like this?" he said to Johnson.

The Council unanimously approved the grant.

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