OTTUMWA — Things are taking off at Ottumwa Regional Airport and it’s not just the aircraft.

A new business is idling on the taxiway while waiting for final financial approval.

Rusty L. Orman and Christina R. Silone want to buy Building No. 52 and move their current business — Wooden Creations, 614 Church St. — to Building No. 52, 14548 Third St., at the airport.

The couple has offered the city $21,150 for the building

The Ottumwa City Council this week unanimously approved the move.

Planning Director Dave Shafer said the building needs significant repairs.

“It’s now an empty shell. We’re fortunate someone wants to purchase the property, complete repairs and put a business there,” he said. The building “has a dock and is the first one to the left off the four-lane.”

During World War II, the U.S. Navy constructed the building, which has recently been appraised at $15,800.

A letter from Orman and Silone detailed many renovations, such as a new roof, structural repairs, adding or repairing electrical, plumbing, gas, heating and air systems and replacing doors and windows.

Their letter also noted they started Wooden Creations in 1999 on Church Street. They manufacture wood components using computer numeric control equipment and wholesale the components to other companies in the furniture manufacturing, fabricating and artwork businesses.

Also, the two partners noted their expansion plan includes not only a larger facility, but the addition of three to five employees over the next few years.

Shafer told the council the project is subject to “financing, final inspection by the developer and release of property from the Federal Aviation Administration.”

Orman and Silone also agreed to pay the city service charges, which are based on the difference in property taxes between Richland Township tax rate and the city’s tax rate times the assessed value.

Councilman Gordon Aistrope commended Shafer’s work in “putting this together.”

“This is something we like to see — a buyer who will improve the building and bring a new business in,” he said.

The council also approved a one-lot subdivision for Wooden Creations. The plat shows 1.55 acres.

In another airport project, the council approved the final plat of Subdivision No. 4, which is a four-lot subdivision at the airport.

“The plat formally creates three lots for development,” Shafer said. “Adecco is located at Lot No. 1.”

He also presented two change orders related to Building No. 23’s hangar electrical upgrade project, which has been completed.

The two change orders — $4,332 and $9,836 — pertained to relocating a transformer and pad. Alliant Energy required the additional work, which was handled by Atwood Electric, Inc., of Sigourney.

“When moving the service conductors to the new transfer location, they discovered damaged conductors, which had to be replaced,” Shafer said.

Crews also found a bad grounding connection between the north and south sides and installed a new grounding conductor.

Councilman Bob Meyers wondered if the grounding problems were in the bid in the first place. Shafer said the problem wasn’t identified until the work started so it wasn’t in the original bid.

Shafer said the change orders increased the contract total by $14,168, which made the final price $112,993.

A General Aviation Vertical Infrastructure grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation will reimburse 85 percent of the project cost. Shafer said he budgeted $15,000 for the local match and the remaining $12,993 will come from the airport’s fund balance.

Cindy Toopes can be reached at (641) 683-5376 or via e-mail at cindy@ottumwacourier.com.

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