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St. Pete-Clearwater airport seeks funding for Airco property

Veronica Brezina

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The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. Photo by James Borchuck/PIE. All images provided.

The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is taking several actions to activate a vacant 130-acre property with a new taxiway. 

The Airco site, which served as a golf course that closed in 2011, is the largest piece of undeveloped land in Pinellas County. The site is adjacent to the airport’s existing runways. 

PIE officials will be seeking approval from the Pinellas County Commission during the June 13 meeting to apply for nearly $12 million in federal funding and amend the zoning for a future taxiway. 

The land use change would be applied to an 18.5-acre portion of the Airco property, at 13690 Stoneybrook Drive.

A portion of the Airco site where a new taxiway would be built. Image: Pinellas County documents.

The taxiway is a critical piece of unlocking the potential redevelopment in the area that’s surrounded by county-owned land designated with transportation, employment and commercial land use categories. 

The county’s local planning agency previously recommended approval of the zoning change request. At the time, several residents spoke in opposition to the project, citing noise impacts as a primary concern; however, airport staff indicated that any increase in noise would be negligible, according to county documents. 

The airport is also asking the county commissioners to sign off on an Airport Improvement Program grant application and agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to build the new taxiway. 

Via the application, airport officials are requesting roughly $11.95 million for the construction of a new Taxiway D. As a result, they would relocate Taxiway G3 that will eventually connect PIE’s airfield with the Airco parcel. 

Taxiway D will run roughly parallel to PIE’s primary Runway 18-36 and will terminate at Taxiway G at the end of Runway 36, according to a site map. 

PIE said the funding is needed as the taxiway project costs have bumped up “due to the post-pandemic costs of materials such as asphalt, airfield lighting, utility pipes, lime rock, excavation, grading and airfield signage.”

In total, the project is expected to cost $14.96 million. 

The applications to the FAA are due June 16. 

The application will require immediate signatures by the board’s chairperson and the county attorney’s office. 

If the FAA approves the request, PIE officials expect to receive the grant in mid-September. 

Although the FAA funding would cover the most substantial costs, there are other grant and local funding sources available including: 

  •  $1,104,480 from the Florida Department of Transportation
  • $1,104,480 from the airport’s passenger facility charge (PFC) program
  • $800,000 from the airport, which it tied to a contingency 
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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Sam K

    June 7, 2023at9:11 pm

    Use up that undeveloped parcel for a…. TAXi way?
    Not a runway, just a taxiway… because …. how are planes getting to the runway without this already, right?
    Makes no sense.

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