ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A first-of-its-kind state grant will help Moriarty Municipal Airport keep up with the pace of growth.
The New Mexico Economic Development Department announced last week that it has awarded the first-ever rural infrastructure LEDA grant to the city of Moriarty to expand and enhance its waterline.
The state is investing $283,000 in the project following a change in the Local Area Development Act that allows the state to directly help communities with improvements to publicly owned industrial properties. The overall cost of the project is $383,000, with the city contributing the remaining $100,000.
EDD said the grant was the first of its kind, after Senate Bill 118, which creates a fund to support local economic development projects, was signed into law during the 2020 Regular Session.
Moriarty Mayor Ted Hart said the state funding allows the city to improve its infrastructure and better compete with larger cities.
“They made a process that makes it a lot easier for rural areas to compete with the bigger urban areas,” Hart said.
Bob Hudson, airport manager for Moriarty, said infrastructure at the airport, now the state’s third-busiest by number of takeoffs and landings, has not kept pace with its rate of growth.
Hudson said Moriarty has become a hotspot for gliders — fixed-wing aircraft that don’t require engines to fly — and the airport has grown quickly to accommodate increased demand.
Today, Hudson said Moriarty Airport has 77 hangers, about 15 of which were built in the last decade.
“When the airport was built, they never expected the airport to grow like it has,” he said.
Because of the increased demand, Hudson said the airport has long had poor water pressure, which has hindered future growth, and even made it difficult to fight fires. He said the airport had a fire last March that was difficult to control due to the lack of water pressure.
“We really need the capability of a larger line to get more water in here,” Hudson said.
Hart said the city had been looking to add water capacity at the airport for years, but lacked the funding to move forward. Hart praised the state’s grant process, saying it came together in just a couple months.
“This was the quickest grant and easiest grant I’ve ever had to work on,” Hart said.
Hudson added the project also expands water capacity to new parts of the property, which could help the airport add hanger space in the future, which could in turn help the entire city.
“This is really a boon for the city of Moriarty,” Hudson said. “People come from all over the world to fly here.”