An engineering firm was hired last week to design a new terminal for the municipal airport as part of ongoing improvements being funded with grant monies.

Waggoner Engineering Inc. of Jackson was hired in a unanimous decision of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to do the design phase of the terminal project.

Improvements have recently been made to the runway and apron.

Municipal Board Chairman Brent Gray was pleased with the decision.

"Creating a design was the right way to go," he said. "Having the project shovel ready is the right thing to do. We have an over 40-year-old building and with the growing city, we will need more room."

The design phase of terminal project will be funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Transportation along with matching funds from the city.

Aldermen hope to fund the construction phase of the project with additional FAA grant monies, which are rewarded annually.

However, Dustin Pittman of Waggoner Engineering told the board last week that federal funding for the project "might dry up" in the near future.

Currently the project calls for a 5 percent match by the city, he said.

Those managing the grants are looking for "shovel-ready" projects, i.e. those with completed designs that could be started on immediately, Pittman said.

Aldermen discussed the project, deciding in the end that the city should at least get a design completed.

Ward 4 alderman Cecil Nichols voiced his concerns over having a design but not implementing it at this time.

"How long would it be good for?" he asked.

Pittman said in response that the design would be good for a few years, barring any major changes to the construction area.

The airport is at 1036 Saxon Airport Road near the Industrial Park.

In other action, aldermen:

• Paid claims.

• Approved a request to rezone a parcel of property off north Pecan Avenue from Industrial-1 to Residential-2 at the request of Northside Storage. Owners plan to move an old church across the street to their lot to be converted into a pair of single room apartments.

• Paid $17,447 to Dickerson & Bowen for work on the Pecan Avenue project.

• Approved a resolution to apply for DUI and Occupant Safety grants.

• Employed Dylan Spears and Cody Barrett as minimum wage cemetery department summer workers as needed.

• Paid $385 to the state Department of Health and Human Services for EMT recertification fees.

• Paid $1,243.40 to Waggoner Engineering for services on the Runway and Apron Rehabilitation project.

• Set a rezoning hearing on April 16 on property at 270A North Lewis Ave. Owners are seeking to have it rezoned from Residential-1 to Residential-3.

• Paid $23,427.01 to Delta Contractors for work on the 2012 Water and Sewer Improvement project.

• Paid $1,464.60 to Waggoner Engineering for services on the Pecan Avenue paving project.

• Allowed fireman Simeon Deweese to attend a trench rescue and structural collapse course in Arkansas.