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EECA helps secure loan for SI Airport.

Mary Warren (left), business program director, Rural Development, USDA; presents a check to Gary Schafer, manager, Southern Illinois Airport Authority; and Shane Hermetz, executive vice president and general manager, Egyptian Electric Cooperative.

MURPHYSBORO — Southern Illinois Airport Authority has an active 2019 construction season planned. Four new buildings will be constructed in the next year. Three buildings will be new aircraft hangars and one will house a new airport terminal.

Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association worked with Southern Illinois Airport Authority to secure a $750,000 zero-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program to help fund a project to construct four additional buildings at the airport. The total project has a price tag of nearly $8 million, according to a news release from Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association.

Those funds will be combined with a $250,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority and a $3.75 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to fund the construction of two hangar buildings. Several new, skilled aircraft maintenance positions will be created as a result of the construction, according to the release.

The loan will be used toward the construction of new aircraft hangars, specifically Hangar 2. After construction, it will provide room for the airport’s fixed base operator, Flightline, to expand. Flightline provides fuel, ground service, flight training and aircraft maintenance to based and transient aircraft.

Currently, the airport is without any additional hangar space to accommodate the growing needs of Flightline or meet overnight hangar demand and based aircraft growth, the release states.

"It continues to be important for us to invest in our very own rural communities," EECA General Manager Shane Hermetz said in the release. "The cooperative is happy to act as the intermediary through the USDA REDLG programs, and in this case, assist one of our members right here in Jackson County that is doing big things."

This is the second REDLG loan EECA has assisted in attaining, and the co-op is accepting applicants from qualified member or nonmember taxing entities within its service territory interested in the REDLG program.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. For more information, visit rd.usda.gov.

Egyptian Electric Cooperative, a member of Touchstone Energy, serves more than 15,000 meters over 1,987 miles of line in Jackson, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington and Williamson counties, and parts of Franklin, Johnson, Monroe and Union counties. For more information visit eeca.coop.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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