Clay County officials recently held a groundbreaking for a new sanitary sewer system at the Midwest National Air Center.

The county officials said they hope the development will attract more industry to the area.

“This new system will allow the airport to expand and grow, in turn bringing more opportunities for economic development to Clay County,” said a press release provided by Nikki Thorn, public relations manager and deputy public information officer for Clay County. 

Todd Crossley, a member of the airport advisory board, said this new construction will be a good thing for the community. He said because of the long runway, the airport can handle much more commercial type flights.

“This is a great place for the county to be able to expand their footprint,” he said. “There are a lot of businesses around the country and around the world that need a footprint like this.”

He said these countries could be drawn to the airport due to the close proximity to a highway and railroad system.

The master plan contains the potential of commercial construction, including warehouse and manufacturing space. However, he said, no one will come here if they must use porta-potties. This new development will alleviate this hurdle.

The original plan included connecting to Kearney’s sewer system, Crossley said. This system, he said, will cost much less than connected to the existing sewer system. In addition to this, Crossley said not many places exist in Clay County that will allow this sort of commercial expansion.

After crews complete the work, he said the airport will get a more serious look from these businesses and expansion points.

“It’s a big potential benefit to the county,” he said. “Move the businesses here, the people move here, the taxes move here. All that’s beneficial to the area.”

Airport manager Frank Branom said the airport now includes four large hangars that sometimes houses multi-million dollar jets. When the pilots of such jets land, they would like a restroom at this actual facility. Having the capability to build such facilities will attract more pilots to the area.

He said this will also provide the final component to future development.

The airport now hosts the helicopter school Heartland Helicopters. Branom said the future plans of this school require the infrastructure that will allow connecting to a sewer system. This new system will work and can be expanded, thus adding to the potential growth of the airport.

Crossley said ultimately, the county will see a great gain from this development.

“This is a big win for the county,” he said.

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