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Akron Airport representatives and officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the airport's newly completed main runway at noon Saturday in the terminal complex on John Street.

The community celebration -- with the local Civil Air Patrol, Western New York Flying Club, Buffalo Aero Club and Mercy Flight of Western New York -- will include refreshments and a variety of other activities.

Larry D. Cummings, president of Christian Airmen, owners of the airport, said the event is being planned to "publicly thank all the local, state and federal officials who have in some way helped to bring about this historic occasion for the airport."

A $2,442,909 federal grant helped fund the runway improvement and safety project. The state Department of Transportation also provided a matching grant to fund $135,717 of the project's cost.

Other work included drainage improvements to aid in controlling any runoff from the airport, new underground electric service from the Village of Akron's Electric Department, an earth berm with shrubs for noise abatement, reflective pavement markings and a medium-intensity runway edge lighting system.

"The runway was updated to meet FAA design standards that will result in making the airport safer for pilots and the community," Cummings said. "Other projects funded by the grants include acquisition of lands for the runway protection zone and the purchase of snow-removal equipment."

The projects, he said, are the first improvements outlined in the master plan update, which identified more than $7 million in projects designed to upgrade the airport to meet current FAA safety- and capacity-related standards.

"The significant FAA and state funding participation enables the airport to cost-effectively begin implementation of these safety improvements as part of these projects," Cummings said.

The airport, a public-use, general aviation facility, is located 1 1/2 miles north of Route 5 in the Town of Newstead, adjacent to the northeast border of Akron.

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