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Landslide costs have Yeager airport in crunch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With construction costs mounting to stabilize and rebuild its collapsed safety overrun, and no reimbursement funds flowing in from its insurer or federal emergency sources, Yeager Airport is nearing the bottom of its financial barrel, members of the Charleston airport’s finance committee were told on Wednesday.

Terry Sayre, Yeager’s executive director, said Schnabel Engineering, the firm designing the stabilization and rebuilding of the safety overrun zone that collapsed on March 12, has estimated it will spend $955,000 for work done from July to November. About half that sum can be attributed to costs related to accommodating the 12 parties now sampling soil at 12-foot intervals as it is being removed to collect forensic evidence for lawsuits related to the March 12 collapse.

An additional $1.6 million is being paid to S&E Clearing and Hydroseeding, the company doing the earthmoving work, and the airport is obligated to spend $525,000 more to purchase homes and property along Keystone Drive. A gas well that had been producing royalty income for the airport had to be capped and raised at a cost of $50,000 to accommodate a fill disposal site from the safety zone collapse, and the Federal Aviation Administration required that a $40,000 security camera system be put in place near the slide zone to guard against possible intruders entering the airport.

“We have $3.1 million left in our fund from refinancing the parking garage,” Sayre said. “By the time we get to the end of this, that fund will be gone, or close to it, barring reimbursements from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) or AIG (the airport’s insurer).”

Sayre said he has met with representatives of Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in a bid to expedite the airport’s $1 million emergency grant request from FEMA. So far, the airport has collected nothing from AIG.

Until FEMA or AIG funding comes through, the airport has put further Keystone Drive property purchases on hold…

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