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Monmouth’s rebuilt airport hangar to open after 2019 fire

Monmouth's new airport hangar is set to open after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
Monmouth's new airport hangar is set to open after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.

Nearly three years after the Monmouth Municipal Airport hangar was destroyed in a fire, the rebuilt facility is set to open.

The fire on Oct. 24, 2019, fully engulfed the hangar and also destroyed administrative offices, historic documents, memorabilia, and eight airplanes.

The city of Monmouth had to wait for approval from the Division of Aeronautics at the Illinois Department of Transportation before they could seek construction bids, and that process was delayed by COVID-19.

But city administrator Lew Steinbrecher said once the bids were approved and materials were on the ground, the new hangar sprang up quickly.

After an inspection this week, and a few things the contractor needs to fix, the new hangar will be ready to house aircraft very soon.

“We’ve got people waiting for all ten units,” Steinbrecher said. “So we expect to be at 100% occupancy as soon as soon as we can rent those out.”

The facility will also be open in time to host the Monmouth Flying Club’s annual Fly-In Breakfast on July 4.

While the old hangar was more of an open concept, the new one has stalls and more space in each unit for the planes.

Instead of the old corrugated gray steel, the new hangar has blue colored metal sheeting and a more modern look.

“So it’s much more attractive,” Steinbrecher said.

There is also stronger security and a fire suppression system.

“It does have security in the sense of night lighting and cameras,” Steinbrecher said.

The fire caused more than $1 million in damages, but insurance and federal funds covered almost the entire cost of the new hangar.

Now the city is working with its airport engineering firm to get a couple other airport projects off the ground.

One is to construct a pavement apron around the side and back of the hangar, so aircraft have a hard surface for entering the facility.

The other is to improve the airport’s entrance road and construct a parking lot.

The city council approved contracts for engineering estimates on those projects this week.

Steinbrecher said 90% of the engineering and construction costs will be covered by federal funds.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.