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City and County to add airport hangars

An old plan got a slight facelift Tuesday night. Thomson and McDuffie County officials met at Thomson City Hall to finalize plans to build additional hangars at the local airport.

Originally, the plan called for additional apron paving and two lines of hangars to be built along side the airport's current hangars. Room would also be left on the apron for future expansion. Ground was supposed to be broken this past June.

The airport's operator Keith Bounds had guaranteed 100 percent occupancy if the hangars were built on the original schedule. The delay on the project potentially lost many of those clients. Since then officials consulted with Mr. Bounds on hangar designs in an effort to get the project moving again.

"This has been a part of our plan for some time, and this is the next logical step," said Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders.

The city and county's airport consultant, Phil Eberly of W.K. Dickson, presented his findings on funding sources for the project during the meeting. FAA entitlement money - $150,000 per year - can be accumulated up to three years for a large project.

That - along with $33,000 by the city and county - will provide site preparation. The hangars themselves will be built with money from a $500,000 OneGeorgia loan and $99,000 of local matching money.

Mr. Flanders said the debt can be paid off from renting the hangar space. Mr. Eberly added that building hangars will bring even more business into the airport.

"If you don't build, your airport won't grow," he said.

In addition to money from rental space and increased business at the airport, Mr. Flanders said planes housed in McDuffie County would increase the advalorem tax revenue flowing into local government coffers.

Both the city council and county commission approved the reworked plan after lengthy discussion on how the in-kind services would be handled. Thomson workers could install water capabilities while county workers could level and prepare the site, officials said.

One member of the Airport Advisory Committee showed up to share his feelings about the plan during the meeting.

"The airport is the front door to our community," said Mike Dudley. "...I'd love to see us do this to move forward."

Officials also learned during the meeting that the Georgia Department of Transportation has set a date to begin work on the runway extension at the airport. That project will get off the ground on July 1, 2007.

Web posted on Thursday, November 09, 2006

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