Gary Airport Authority OKs master plan contract

GARY — The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority approved a contract Monday with the firm Jacobsen/Daniels Associates to update the airport’s master plan.

The $870,000 contract calls for a plan to be completed within 18 months.

Jacobsen/Daniels was one of three national firms chosen as a finalist for the contract. Among the reasons the firm won is its recruitment of local firms as part of its team, airport officials said.

Jacobsen/Daniels went “above and beyond as far as use of local firms,” airport Executive Director Dan Vicari said.

Local subcontractors include AES Services of Schererville, a surveying and engineering firm; DataMine of Gary for Internet and graphic design work; Fluid Communications of Merrillville to manage public engagement; and architectural firm Forms + Funktion of Gary.

“Anytime we have work that needs to be done at the airport we want to use local firms, not just to create jobs, but to build a community of stakeholders invested in the success of their airport,” Airport Authority Chairman Stephen Mays said.

The master plan update is the first undertaken by the airport since 2001. Generally, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends updating the master plan every 10 years, but Gary delayed that as it completed its $174 million runway extension.

The runway extension allows larger, long-haul airplanes to use the airport. That, along with implementation of a public/private partnership to manage development and operations, has raised expectations for expanded aviation business, including a passenger airline, and for new business development in and around the airport.

The airport is currently rehabilitating its crosswind runway — the shorter runway crossing the main runway — and is planning a customs office to allow the airport to live up to its “International” moniker.

The new master plan will include a forecast of current and future aviation demand, and an analysis of the airport’s facilities and opportunities for expansion. A series of public forums will be held to collect community input.

Jacobsen/Daniels is an Ypsilanti, Michigan-based firm with offices and projects throughout the country.

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