The future of the Wayne Johnson Silver Bay Municipal Airport is still up in the air.

The City of Silver Bay received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration dated Jan. 10 reminding officials about the financial consequences of closing the airport and mentioning that Silver Creek has been investigating a possible sponsorship of the airport.

The airport runway was closed in May 2018 and its license was revoked after a Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics inspection found the runway conditions unsafe. The runway fell into disrepair after the City of Silver Bay stopped receiving grants from MnDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration, which would have required the city to financially match part of the funds to maintain it.

Back in November 2019, the Town of Silver Creek started considering a possible sponsorship of the airport. The FAA is “in support of a full review and consideration of options that might allow for the airport to continue to be part of the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).”

To become a viable airport again, the runway would need to be repaved or repaired, at an estimated cost of $2.5 million; the clear approaches would need to be verified; and the sponsors would need to apply for a new license application with MnDOT and get pre-approval from the FAA.

Alternatively, if the airport remains closed, the fair market value of the airport property and pro-rated grant obligations would need to be reinvested in another NPIAS public airport or to fund an airport development project in the local airport system. If the city officials choose to close the airport permanently, the city would owe the state airports fund about $8,500 and the federal government around $750,000.