Airport is looking up

Airport is looking up
By Brian Arrington
The Walton Tribune
Published August 22, 2010
Things are looking up at the Monroe-Walton County airport.

At one point in recent years airplanes were allowed to leave the airport on the city’s southeast side. But now new hangars are being built and business is booming.

Airport Safety Committee Chairman Rodney Etheredge said on weekends the runways are filled with planes taking off and leaving and Skydive Monroe owner Bill Scott said business has been great.

“Since Jan. 1, we’ve had 293 takeoffs and landings,” Scott said. “We’ve been busy.”

City officials hope to see the airport — which was dubbed project of the year by the American Association of Airport Executives less than five years ago — continue to thrive. It’s something they hope will lead to more commercial business on the property and visits from potential entrepreneurs looking to start a business here.

In the meantime, city officials are doing what they can to speed up progress at the airport. Earlier this month, the Monroe Council re-approved the contract of airport consultants Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon. Construction crews recently started burying power lines near the runway. The $2 million project, paid for with federal and state funds and local in-kind services, will make the airport safer for pilots.

The runway was extended to 4,100 feet in 2005 and a peek at a five-year, $10 million, capital improvement program shows the runway could be expanded by another 1,000 feet by 2015.

The plan also calls for a 10,000-gallon fuel facility, a new terminal building, new hangars and taxiways.

Plans are also in the works to secure the fence around the airport to keep out deer and other wildlife, something that has been a dangerous problem there in the past.

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