Airport deal is a mow brainer

When Gary/Chicago International Airport announced its $100 million 40-year revamp plan early this year, investors probably didn’t expect that part of the money would be used to doll up its lawns.

Apparently that is the case however, at least for this year.

The third-largest Chicago-area airfield after O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport has issued a Request for Proposals to provide landscaping services, specifically lawn care, for the 2014 season.

In fact, while the proposed deal is not your every-day example of infrastructure procurement, it is eminently sensible. After all, careful monitoring of grass length is said to play a role in ensuring that birds are deterred from the environs – and don’t therefore fly into plane engines.

Plus, all airports want to offer a nice view when passengers look down from the plane.

Given that the Gary area is known for its steel mills, the pursuit of green, rolling lawns may perhaps constitute an inspired image makeover.

The development arrangements for Gary Airport, in the form of a public-private partnership (P3) were announced in January. The private sector partner – which, along with AvPorts and AFCO, includes New York financial services firm Guggenheim Partners – will invest $25 million in the first three years.