IDOT Study Highlights Economic Impact of Morris Municipal Airport

MORRIS- The Morris Municipal Airport is off to a great start this year. Just last month the airport was granted $11.7 million dollars through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Infrastructure Plan to build a crosswind runway, now the airport is receiving statewide attention through the state’s economic impact report.

“Having the airport directly in the heart of our town is a great draw for multiple businesses in the area,” said Public Information Officer Stan Knudson.

Morris Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport which is owned and operated by the City of Morris. In addition to frequent recreational flying, the airport also supports a significant amount of corporate flying. The airport’s location to Interstate 80 and Route 47 increases accessibility and improves business opportunities for warehousing and logistics within the community. Costco, Procter & Gamble, and Duke Industries are three large corporations that frequently use Morris Municipal Airport. Additional activities supported by the airport include aerial agricultural application, aerial inspection, law enforcement operations, environmental patrol and traffic and news reporting.

The airport is currently in the beginning stages of building the crosswind runway.

“Right now the airport is going through the environmental assessment process, which involves clearing all the environmental aspect of the entire area, to ensure there is no endangered species or archaeological issues,” said Engineer Casey McCollom. “Once that has been cleared the airport will then go through the acquisition process, which will entail negotiation with the landowners to establish fair market value. In the grand scheme of things this will probably take the better part of a year to complete.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced the results of a new study showing the economic impact of Morris Municipal Airport – James R. Washburn Field on the local and state economy. The 2020 Illinois Aviation Economic Impact Analysis is the first report of its kind released by IDOT since 2012.

The total economic impact of Morris Municipal Airport for the State of Illinois, according to the study was $15.2 million. The factors used to determine the economic impact are on-airport activity, labor income, visitor spending, air cargo, employment and value added.

“The importance of our airport on our local economy cannot be overstated,” said Mayor Chris Brown. “Many of the large corporations that are choosing Morris as the location for their business interests, are doing so, due in large part to the Morris Municipal Airport. Our airport is a gem in our community and the State of Illinois recognized that recently with the award for our cross-wind runway. The future of our airport is bright, and we are looking forward to improvements that will take it to the next level”

For more information on the Illinois Aviation Economic Impact Analysis, including the executive summary and informational snapshots on participating airports, please visit www.ILaviation.com.