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Monday, February 26, 2024

New Airport Control Tower Funding Approved by Winter Haven City Commission

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New Airport Control Tower Funding Approved by Winter Haven City Commission

by James Coulter

The Winter Haven Airport is one step closer to receiving a new control tower now that city commissioners voted on a resolution to approve additional grant funding for the project.

During their bimonthly meeting on Monday evening, Winter Haven City Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a Public Transportation Grant Agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help finance a design and construction project for a new control tower at the city airport.

According to the city memo on the resolution, the FDOT grant agreement will provide “an initial funding amount of $500,000 at 100% participation” toward the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $1,230,000. As the memo states: “The remaining $730,000 is anticipated for 100% participation provided through a supplemental grant agreement from the FDOT in July, 2023.”

The proposed control tower is being planned and constructed to help facilitate greater and more diverse air traffic to the Winter Haven Regional Airport over the past decade. As the memo explains: “Traffic operations have been steadily increasing…[and] the traffic mix has become more diverse with an increase in jet, seaplane, helicopter, and other aircraft operations at GIF over the past 5-6 years.”

Currently, the project entails the design and construction of a “digital remote air traffic control tower” for the Winter Haven Regional Airport. The tower itself will be remotely operated “from a control center located at the Bartow Executive Airport.”

“The proposed Digital Remote Air Traffic Control Tower project would increase both the safety and efficiency of aircraft arriving and departing the airport,” the city memo explains.

The City Staff had recommended that the City Commission approve the resolution. Pro Tiem Mayor Nathanial Birdsong motioned to approve the resolution, and the commissioners voted unanimously for its approval.

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