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EECA secures Southern Illinois Airport a $750,000 Loan

The Southern Illinois Airport Authority (SIAA) in Murphysboro has an active 2019 construction season planned. Four new buildings will be constructed in the next year with the price tag of nearly $8 million. Three buildings will be new aircraft hangar facilities and one will house a new airport terminal.

Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association (EECA) worked with SIAA to secure a $750,000 zero-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. The loan will be used toward the construction of new aircraft hangars.

Those funds will be combined with a $250,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority and a $3.75 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to fund the construction of two hangar buildings. Several new, skilled aircraft maintenance positions will be created as a result.

“It continues to be important for us to invest in our very own rural communities,” says EECA General Manager Shane Hermetz. “The cooperative is happy to act as the intermediary through the USDA REDLG programs, and in this case, assist one of our members right here in Jackson County that is doing big things.”

Specifically, the USDA loan will help with the cost of developing Hangar 2, a 12,000 square-foot aircraft hangar to accommodate existing aircraft needs and provide for expansion of the airport’s fixed base operator, Flightline. Flightline provides fuel, ground service, flight training and aircraft maintenance to based and transient aircraft.

Currently, the airport is without any additional hangar space to accommodate the growing needs of Flightline or meet overnight hangar demand and based aircraft growthGroup USDA EECA SIAA Picture. The loan will deliver much needed hangar capacity for the foreseeable future.

“We are grateful to both the USDA and our partner, Egyptian Electric Cooperative, for this source of funding,” SIAA Manager Gary Schafer says.

This is the second REDLG loan EECA has assisted in attaining, and the co-op is accepting applicants from qualified member or non-member taxing entities within its service territory interested in the REDLG program.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. The funding awards for these projects are through the REDLG program to support rural businesses. For more information about this program, visit

Pictured Left to Right: Brooke Guthman, EECA Member Services Manager; Mary Warren, Business Program Director, USDA Rural Development; Gary Schafer, SIAA Manager; Shane Hermetz, EECA Executive Vice-President/General Manager; Allan Haake and Gilbert Kroening, EECA Board Members.