Former DC Commissioner Mike Rhoades commended for upgrades at Darke County Airport
DARKE COUNTY – Darke County dedicated the Darke County Airport’s new taxiway with a Friday morning ribbon cutting.
“Warren Davidson and Ben Thaeler have always supported Darke County with letters of support and anything we needed,” said Darke County Commission Chairman, Matt Aultman. “We could ask for help and they have always been helpful with any Federal project that we have asked for.”
“The first meeting that I ever took in Darke County was a meeting with Commissioner Rhodes to talk about this airport and as Congressman Davidson has said before, if the funds are out there we want the funds to come here,” said Deputy District Director for U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson, Ben Thaeler. “It is a situation where they have been able to say to the FAA – our businesses want it.”
“This funding is going to allow these businesses to grow their operations and that is exactly what is happening,” Thaeler added. “I am sure this isn’t the last time that we will celebrate an improvement here at the Darke County Airport.”
Recently retired Darke County Commissioner Michael Rhoades was the driving force behind the airport improvements for the past 20 years.
“Thanks to Mike Rhodes for 20 years of planning and operations, Susan Laux and Sally Keiser for all the grant work and paper work needed to be done, Scott Nass for the operations of the airport and Crawford, Murphy and Tilley Engineering firms and Delvin and Mr. John Mayfield with the FAA, for all their help and cooperation as we move the projects forward,” said Aultman.
“It is a dream that has come true for 20 years,” said Rhoades. “It started out pretty rough and then Susan Laux came on board. Several times we went and met the people from Romulus, Michigan, the headquarters for the FAA.”
“We got a good rapport with the main guy there – you have to earn that,” Rhoades continued. “We had to earn his respect. Once we got it he was easy to talk to. He knew our hearts were in the right place and our minds in the right place to move forward with all this so there is more to come.”
“This taxiway dedication is going to absolutely kick-start economic development in Darke County,” said DC Commissioner Michael Stegall. “It is going to be getting bigger and better in the future. It is a great expansion and thank you to the FAA and ODOT Aviation for helping us get this done.”
”We’re looking forward to all the opportunities that are around the corner and what this will bring to the county,” said DC Airport manager, Scott Naas.
Commissioner Alutman reported from 2007 to today there has been 5.9 million from Federal Grants come back to Darke County.
“That’s Federal money coming back to us not counting any money going to the airport projects but to do improvements such as taxiway resurfacing, upgrades to our hangers, adding of this taxiway and apron, fixing our lights, all the things that needed to be done but it didn’t have to come out of the general funds,” Aultman shared.
Autlman noted in 2015 the airport sold 7,400 gallons of fuel and ant past 12 months sales have risen to 19,000 gallons representing a large increase in pilots utilizing the local airport.
A notable addition to the Darke County Airport is the Miami Valley Hospital Premier Health CareFlight.
“CareFlight was on our plans for a few years,” said Aultman. “With them coming has been a great help with services within Darke County. Since they have been based here they have been one of the busiest helicopters in their fleet.”