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IDB, airport look to future

The Chilton County Industrial Development Board is partnering with the Chilton County Airport with an eye on the future.

IDB Executive Director Whitney Barlow met with Billy Singleton and members of the airport authority shortly after securing her role in the county.

The talks centered on the airport’s future plans and how it can coincide with the growth of the county.

“An airport, especially one like we have, is huge and something that every smaller community would love to have,” Barlow said.

The IDB has hired consulting firm AEROready in a joint partnership with the airport.

The firm is certified and has a checklist that they use to evaluate community-type airports.

“What that checklist is doing is identifying the systems that are in place, so that you can have a successful general aviation airport,” Barlow said. “They will tell us where our holes are and will help us market to aeronautics and aerospace companies.”

The evaluation process is expected to take about four months to complete.

“We will take what we get and start working those angles and coming up with marketing strategies of how to recruit and talk with those companies,” Barlow said. “When you’ve got aerospace north and south of you, a lot of them are looking for a central location,” Barlow said. “We’re going to see if we can fit into those parameters.”

According to Barlow, not all the companies will have an interest in the airport for its runways, but instead serve the purpose of parts manufacturers.

One of the primary benefits from the evaluation results will be to help focus in on which companies are best suited for Chilton County and which ones would be most interested in what the county has to offer in return.

“It is a market of workforce that does not currently exist in this county,” Barlow said. “It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease, but I think it’s going to work.”