MARION — Southern Illinois Veterans Airport officials have refinanced its General Obligation Bond series debt to achieve significant cost savings over the next 10 years.
They are refinancing just over $2 million of the remaining general obligation debt at 2.89%, which should save the airport $324,000 over 10 years.
Doug Kimmel, airport manager, said the reduction in principle will also allow the airport to repay the loan a year earlier.
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“It’s quite significant in our budget. Our board is always on the lookout for opportunities like this,” Kimmel said.
The airport worked with banking specialist Kevin Wills, of municipal bond specialist Bernardi Securities, as the bond underwriter for the transaction.
Airport Veterans has purchased 67.49 acres east of its existing property and that of the Illinois National Guard Armory for future growth and development.
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Kimmel said the airport owned the property the armory is on and gave it to the military in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The airport board hopes that the National Guard will expand its operations to include a helicopter unit.
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The airport also purchased two additional parcels in 2021 which included the former Changing Seasons Landscape Co. and the site of the former Heartland Kinds Childcare Center near Ernestine Drive.
“A little further east is the REDCO Development Park. A property exists between the airport and the park,” Kimmel said. “It is natural that REDCO and the airport are adjacent.”
He added that this makes perfect sense for industries, especially those that might need air travel. REDCO Development Park is already close to Interstate 57, local highways and railroads. Across Illinois 13 is Butler Park, an industrial park.
The additional property gives Aisin the opportunity to grow, but also encourages other industries to locate in Marion.
Kimmel explained that there is a list of items needed to develop and attract new industries to Marion.
“Having land is a big check mark on the list,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel also said that in about a year, the airport will review its essential federal air grant.
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Kimmel said they would see if Sky West or any other airline besides Cape Air had an interest in providing airborne care from the airport. Cape Air currently offers air travel to St. Louis and Nashville.