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McVille Airport gets grant to pave runway

Closed since 2007, McVille Airport is one step closer to takeoff.

The airport, which is located between the east side of the Route 28 expressway and the Allegheny River, has received a $650,000 grant from the state to update the airport.

"It's a 75-25 grant," said Tom Kijowski co-owner of the airport. "The state gives us 75 percent of the funding and we pay the other 25 percent."

Kijowski said the money will be used to pave the airport's runway.

When the airport reopens, the runway will be about 3,200 feet long and slightly elevated.

The grant is from PennDOT as part of their aviation development program. The money comes from taxes on jet engine fuel.

McVille received the second largest grant of 18 Pennsylvania airports that shared $4 million the state provided.

Pittsburgh International Airport received the most grant money, receiving $750,000 in funding, according to PennDOT.

The airport was closed in 2007 so strip mining could take place on the property. That mining is complete.

Before its closing, the airport housed more than 60 planes.

Most of the hangars that housed those planes were torn down to complete the strip mining.

The airport also was home to the Armstrong Aviation flight school, which Kijowski also owns and now operates out of Rock Airport in West Deer.

"We hope to get most of those planes back at McVille when we reopen," he said. "It depends on how many hangars we can get reopened."

While the reopening process has started, the airport is still a long way from taking off.

"We keep telling people we'll be open in the fall of 2012, so that's what we're shooting for," Kijowski said.

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