Airport will host groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 22

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Chilton County Airport will host a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Airport Administration Building.

“The ceremony will recognize the largest single-year investment for infrastructure revitalization projects scheduled at the airport,” Airport Authority board member Billy Singleton said.

Singleton said the ceremony will take place in front of the “WPA Hangar” which was the first building constructed at the airport under the Federal Works Progress Administration Program and dedicated in 1937.

The purpose of the ceremony being held in front of the hangar will demonstrate the first investment of federal funds at the facility.

“Airport improvement projects scheduled for this year represent the largest single-year investment of federal funds in the history of the Chilton County Airport,” Singleton said. “The improvement projects will allow us to stabilize the airport infrastructure to the point we can stop looking back and begin to focus our vision and energy on the future.”

The $2.6 million investment at the airport covers several different projects including improvements to the runway lighting system, a resurfaced runway, the installation of a new hangar housing 10 airplanes and the clearing of six parcels of land near U.S. Highway 145 extending the runway to 4,000 feet.

A grant for roughly $1.6 million was awarded to the airport in September from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) that would help upgrade the current lighting system at the airport that is more than 50 years old.

The lighting system will also save the airport roughly 85 percent in electrical costs due to the more modern system of turning the runway lights off when they are not in use.

With the grant, Chilton County was responsible to pay 5 percent of the grant with the FAA and ADLOT posting 95 percent of the cost for the projects.

The land acquisition of the parcels was through a separate grant for roughly $825,000.

Currently, the runway is 3,200 feet and the six parcels and five homes cleared would help in extending the runway to 4,000 feet.

Singleton said Rep. Kurt Wallace plans to attend the ceremony as well as Dr. John C. Eagerton IV who is the Chief of the Alabama Department of Transportation Aeronautics Bureau.

Chilton County Commission Chairman Allen Caton, members of the Chilton County Commission, Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver and members of the Clanton City Council also plan to attend.

The airport is located at 702 Airport Road in Clanton.