A ceremony was held Thursday afternoon to kick off the next phase of the new airport project. Several county and city leaders, as well as members of the Board of Aviation, were there for the beginning of the paving portion.
Board president Ronnie Floyd said board members, along with city and county officials, have spent a lot of time and effort to get the project this far.
Corey Harper, an airport planner from Butler, Fairman and Seufert, Inc., said he is excited to be part of this project.
“We appreciate everyone’s support,” he said. “Economic Development is an important part of a community.”
The first phase of the new airport is now complete. Temple and Temple moved dirt to build the new 3,000 foot runway. Now, contractor Dave O’Mara will take over the next phase, which includes paving the runway.
The original price for the completed project, before Harper took over planning, was $20 million. Now, the final cost is estimated at $12.5 million, with the FAA committing money to eventually make the runway 5,000 feet long.
Airport Manager Lowell Depoy said he is so excited to see this project completed.
“This has been on the radar for years,” he said.
Board of Aviation member Bob Woodward said when the old airport is sold, it won’t go to just anyone. “It will be sold to someone who will bring jobs here,” he said.
Jason Cockerill, another board member, and mayoral candidate, said the airport can be used as a major economic development tool.
“I’m really looking forward to this new airport opening,” he said.
City of Salem Clerk-Treasure Pat Persinger said Harper has been a pleasure to work with and she, too, is excited to see the airport reach completion.
(Pictured Above - Board of Aviation Members, from left, Jason Cockerill, Bob Woodward, Mark Dewees, Ronnie Floyd and Airport Manager Lowell Depoy.)