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Skybound Community: The Importance of Grants

Aug 04, 2023Aug 04, 2023

MILAN, NM – The Grants-Milan Municipal Airport has been in service for over 60 years. They have welcomed travelers and visitors to the City of Grants, Village of Milan and the communities of Cibola County. The airport has also been a valuable resource for medical personnel with many of the planes coming in being for medical airlifts.

The airport has received a few grants to purchase new equipment, but the equipment to be purchased using this funding has not been decided yet. On their wish list they have a bush hawk, a new snowplow, a new work truck, as well as additional wildlife fencing. The airport is also planning on getting a new hanger, they are hoping to break ground next spring, the hanger will be an 80 by 80. They are also planning on getting a new pilots lounge and a new terminal. The airport also just had a pre-bid meeting, nothing has been finalized yet, to close the airport for 45 days in order to repair the apron and taxiways. The funding for the project is from state funded grants that are specifically for airports.

Kevin Colburn, who is the organizer for Coffee and Cars, got in contact with Airport Manager Lynn Cannon to plan an event at the airport. On August 19, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. they will be having an event called Wings and Wheels. Pilots will be allowed to fly into the airport and do a static display. There will be no awards for the event. Vendors and food trucks are encouraged to attend the project, the farmer’s market is also allowed to come to the airport and set up. There will be no fees for any vendor or food truck. There will also be a car show which is said to have at least 40 cars already registered.

Cannon is the only worker at the airport. When she clocks in, she begins her shift pulling weeds by hand, after this she will use a riding lawnmower to mow around the airport. When it gets too hot, she will use the tractor to get around the area. Cannon also assists with fueling the aircraft coming in and refueling the tanks when the delivery truck comes in.

When asked if the airport would ever think of hiring any new employees Cannon said that it’s far out. She said, “It’s hard to get somebody who’s willing to work 12 hours a week…” They have a janitorial service that comes in twice a week to clean the terminal. Cannon said that with the janitorial service it frees up some of her time to go out and do grounds work. Cannon said, “It’s just me and I love my job, where else could you get a view like this. I was in the military right out of high school, my MOS was to fuel planes and jets and helicopters. This is just a job that I’ve continued since… I would rather be physically tired doing groundwork than doing paperwork and being stressed.”

A museum is also available at the airport, which is free to the public. The museum appreciates any donations. The museum is run by the Cibola County Historical Society. The hours of the museum are very limited, Saturday’s from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

When asked why it’s important that the Cibola County area has an airport Cannon said, “It’s very important since COVID happened, especially since COVID happened we’ve got a lot of medivacs come in and out all day long… A majority of the king air’s coming in are picking up patients from the hospital, because our hospital is so overflooded.” Cannon also said they used to get UPS coming into the airport. There are also a lot of private pilots that use the airport as well as student pilots. Military aircraft also come into the airport in order to refill.

Cannon said, “What I’m hoping to turn this place into is more of a family friendly [airport] and open it up to the public.”