The Pierre Regional Airport is putting its COVID dollars to work.
At its Feb. 22 meeting, the Pierre City Commission approved the purchase of a $634,000 multi-purpose plow for the airport. Federal CARES dollars will pay for the piece of equipment.
Cameron Howard, Airport Manager, says that the unit is essential for airport operations.
“It’s a heavy duty plow that can remove snow from the runways and taxiways, and also deice those surfaces at the same time,” said Howard. “It’s what allows planes to take off and land at our airport when we have winter weather conditions.”
The new plow is replacing a similar unit that is 27 years old. The 1995 plow was starting to show signs of age and was scheduled for replacement this year. Howard went on to say that despite purchasing now, the City won’t actually receive the new plow until next year.
“It takes the manufacturer a year to build the piece of equipment to our specs,” said Howard. “That’s fairly typical for this type of specialty equipment.”
The Pierre Regional Airport received three separate federal COVID related grants totaling $3.2 million. Only one of those grants can be used for major equipment purchases. The remaining funds are required to be used for operations.