Airport reaching new heights

Published 9:24 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

As Chilton County Airport Authority member Billy Singleton said, upgrading the airport “is quite a lengthy process.”

Acquiring land adjacent to the runway has been a seven-year project—but one which might be nearing its end.

The Authority will receive a $552,930 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to clear remaining runway obstacles and begin facility improvements. Authority officials will use the money to purchase the last two parcels on the west side of the runway and to remove obstacles, such as trees, in the flight path of aircraft.

CCAA has acquired about 25 acres of property surrounding the airport, and the land acquisition is only the first phase of a comprehensive plan to make the airport a safer and better resource for the county. Future plans call for a resurfaced and re-striped runway, updated runway lighting system and continued preservation of historic structures at the airport.

CCAA can’t apply for more federal grants until the land acquisition phase is complete, and Singleton estimated the clearing of the land will take between six and nine months to complete.

The Chilton County Airport at Gragg-Wade Field can’t just be reworked overnight, and we’re glad the CCAA leaders have been willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish goals.

The airport—and Chilton County—will be better off for their efforts.