This year, the Columbiana County Airport Authority will receive $620,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration to use toward the rehabilitation of about 2,000 feet of the existing taxiway A and to maintain the structural integrity at the airport. Before any paving work is done, fuel tanks need to be moved in order to keep the airport compliant with FFA regulations. John Sayle is retiring with 42 years on the board after being appointed in 1979 and Joe Diloreto has spent more than 20 years on the board. But this was not the first time the FAA has provided money for improvements at the county airport.
EAST LIVERPOOL — Nestled in the hills of Madison Township northwest of East Liverpool, the Columbiana County Airport provides services to local flying enthusiasts and others coming to Columbiana County.
But the airstrip and airport facilities were not always what they are today and that is thanks in part to members of the Columbiana County Airport Authority board, including two members retiring this June with more than 60 years of combined experience. >Members of the current board of the Columbiana County Airport Authority board stand on the taxiway at the airport on County Airport Road this week (front from left) Tim Ohara, John Sayle, Joe Diloreto, (back from left) Frank Ungaro, Dan Thompson, Mike Diloreto and Jim Pusateri.
It cost only $216,000 to build the airport back then and the state of Ohio paid 50 percent of it with the county paying the rest. Board members remember a time when there was no heat in the airport building and the windows were boarded up. Through the years up until 2013, Sayle said they have obtained $3.86 million in funding for building and upkeep at the airport and in the last eight years there has been another grant nearly every year. He believes they have spent about $5 million toward the facilities through the years with the commissioners sometimes assisting with additional matching funding for the grants they receive. Sayle said the State of Ohio bought the airport in 1965 and it was only a grass strip. It was paved in 1968.
“This is a good airport authority,” Sayle said, “because everybody’s a pilot. Everybody has the airport’s interest at heart…hardworking group. We’ve got it in great shape.” Sayle said when he came there was truly little there and no one to operate the airport. He came from New York City and rented a space for his airplane for $15. Over the years they have rebuilt the whole thing.
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