Pipestone County Star

By Kyle Kuphal

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited the Pipestone Municipal Airport Sunday, June 9 as part of an economic development-themed tour of southwest Minnesota.

“We went there because we were able to successfully advocate for a grant for the airport out of this FAA Improvement Program for smaller airports,” Klobuchar said by phone Monday afternoon.

The $537,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program will be used to replace the Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) and Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) at the airport and update the airport master plan. The existing PAPIs and REILs have reached the end of their useful lives and will be replaced with LED versions. That work is expected to take place soon. The updated airport master plan will provide a comprehensive review of the airport facility, operation and infrastructure to develop a specific plan for future development.

During her visit, the senator met with Mayor Dan Delaney, City Councilor Rodger Smidt, City Administrator Deb Nelson, Airport Manager Robert Dykstra and Assistant Airport Manager Tony Dykstra. Klobuchar and the local officials also discussed other projects for which the city could potentially get federal funding, including the historic concrete water tower, infrastructure improvement projects, childcare needs, housing and the former Carnegie Library building.

Klobuchar said she was excited about the opportunity to get federal funding for the water tower because she helped get funds for Brainerd’s concrete water tower, which was designed by the same person.

“I want to do the same for Pipestone,” she said.

Klobuchar said she flew into Sioux Falls and drove to Pipestone and was in town for around an hour and a half, during which she grabbed lunch to go from the 8th Avenue Diner. She then headed to the Painted Prairie Vineyard in Currie.

“It was overall a really positive meeting with the leaders,” Klobuchar said.

Her tour of southwest Minnesota continued Monday with visits to the Kids Rock Child Care Center in Luverne, Nobles County leaders and Community & Economic Development Associates in Worthington, and the Red Rock Rural Water Systems water treatment plant in Windom.