Local people put to work with completion of new Pellston Airport building

Work is complete tonight on an $8-million project in Emmet County.

A new multi-purpose building at the Pellston Regional Airport is now open.

"The economy for about two years was really bad around here, and it really helped us, actually, we grew, we added new employees, so it definitely helped," says Mario Suarez, owner of Super M Excavating in Pellston.

Super M Excavating is just one of the winners of the multi-million dollar project completed at Pellston Regional Airport. Owner Mario Suarez has hired four new employees to help complete his portion of the multi-million dollar job.

â??It's definitely been a boost and it also helps us going into the future, as far as, you know, showing we completed a pretty difficult project because of all of the underground obstacles that were unknown at an airport site," says Suarez.

More than 75 Northern Michigan workers were hired local contractors to help complete the new snow equipment removal storage and aircraft rescue firefighting building.

Not only was the $8-million project great for the local economy, it's also great for the local communities. The benefits are the safety, the airport operations, and overall the draw it brings for people flying into Pellston.

"When you're talking the expense of one vehicle alone is three-quarters of a million dollars, it's nice to have a facility to keep it maintained, keep it out of the weather, and be able to use it," says Jeff Mallory, Airfield Supervisor of Pellston Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration funded project paid for the 33-thousand square foot heated state-of-the-art building. It houses the equipment and also has a new conference center, kitchen, and pilot's room for aviation convenience.

â??People forget we have a large volume of (general aviation) traffic in and out of here every year, there are a lot of people who live here, have homes here, like to vacation here, we have a contracted flight here, so itâ??s very beneficial" says Mallory.

Mallory says quick access to the run-ways along with the opportunity the building gives for airport growth are two key contributors.

Another key feature of the building is a disaster command center that will be the stage if there's a disaster at the airport.

There are also bunk beds in the case of a large snow-storm where snow plow operators are called to work long hours.