The plan to build new T-hangars at the Thomson-McDuffie County airport had been in the works for some time, and ground was supposed to have been broken in June of 2006.
But one of the problems preventing city and county officials from proceeding was the lack of available funds. That is no longer the case as officials received word last week that a $500,000 low-interest loan from the OneGeorgia Authority had been approved.
Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders said the approval of the loan is a tremendous help to begin needed upgrades at the airport that will provide a boost to the facility.
"It is one more major step forward in providing the infrastructure at that airport that we need to make it even more of an economic generator than it already is," he said.
According to Mr. Flanders, the plan calls for T-hangars with space for 18 planes. During a joint meeting on Nov. 9, city and county officials finalized the plans which will receive additional funding from FAA entitlement money as well as a local match.
"The entitlement funds will be used to do the site work and the paving up to the buildings," he said. "This will provide us the financing to put the buildings on site."
Mr. Flanders said rent from the new hangars will be used to repay the loan. The airport's operator, Keith Bounds, told officials last year that many plane owners were looking for available hangar space to rent at the airport, but none was available.
"We just didn't have any growth room, and this basically provides us growth room," Mr. Flanders said. "Our next step is to now look at some corporate hangars."
Pre-engineering work has already been done on the project. Depending on the weather, construction on the new T-hangars should be completed by the end of May or early April, Mr. Flanders said.
Also, the Georgia Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin work on the runway extension at the airport this summer. The additional runway length will allow larger jets to land at the airport.