Phase 1 of project complete
Hale Bennett first laid eyes on the Silver Springs airport in 1945 when he landed his B-29 Superfortress there.
More than 50 years later, Bennett and his wife, Kay, are having a groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of their reconstruction project of that airport Sept. 8.
The project has been a 10-year effort and a public and private partnership between Lyon County and the Bennetts, whose company leases the commercial land surrounding the runway and taxiways, said Kay, a former Carson City supervisor.
The existing runway is 7,200 feet long, 150 feet wide and all gravel.
According to Bennett, the airport was built in 1944 by the Department of Transportation as an alternative to the Stead Air Force Base.
The first phase of reconstruction involves grinding up the gravel and overlaying it with asphalt concrete, Bennett said.
Federal, state, and local government officials – including former Sen. Richard Bryan, who will dig the first shovel of dirt – will be in attendance
“We have always maintained that this airport will generate local employment. Most working people have to go outside the community to work, so the airport presents a tremendous opportunity for employment.” Bennett said.
Reconstruction was funded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s airport improvement plan as well as a community development block grant.
“We had a vision of being able to take a neglected facility and turn it around and become a productive asset to the community and Lyon County,” Bennett said.
When complete, the airport runway will be capable of accepting all general aviation, corporate aircraft and 737s.
Reconstruction of the runway is expected to be complete in mid-October.
Phase two of reconstruction will involve extending the runway and adding ramps and tie down areas for the planes, Bennett said.
The airport development is planned for general aviation, aviation related industry and general industry.
What: Silver Springs Airport groundbreaking ceremony
When: 11 a.m., Sept. 8
Where: Silver Springs Airport, 1991 Highway 50 East