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Tom Jones, chairman of the Twin County Airport Commission, gave a progress report on the airport at a recent meeting of the Grayson County Board of Supervisors.
Jones said over the period of several months, numerous improvements had been made to the facility located near Hillsville and within sight of the Wildwood Park development on Interstate 77 at exit 19. He said about $4.6 million had been spent on the facility over the past several years.
He said an 8-foot security fence had been erected on about 60 percent of the airport property line at a cost of about $285,000.
Also, the airport has a full-time manager, both AV and Jet-A fuel is available 24/7, the runway has been widened from 60-foot to 75-foot, new runway lights installed, county water was installed to the terminal, and a courtesy car is now available at the airport, which was donated by the City of Galax.
Other improvements underway include:
• T-hangar site construction – on hold awaiting pad.
• Pad for new multi-use commercial building – building on site.
• Pad for new T-hangar building poured – building on site.
“Through the support of the contributions to the airport we should have these projects completed by the end of July.
Jones presented an architect’s drawing for a new terminal building.
He said the existing terminal had become a liability and they had to acquire a trailer to house the airport manager temporarily.
Jones said the new terminal would include:
• passenger lounge.
• conference lounge equipped with up-to-date technology including high-speed internet, phone and fax and video facilities. It will provide a place to meet potential clients that are considering locating in the Twin County business community.
• Pilot facilities, including a loung,, flight planning room and weather services, FBO office and airport operations with offices and training area.
Jones said the building would include about 4,000 square feet of space.
“Our engineers are working on getting this ready to bid by July 1 in order to submit it at the August meeting of the Virginia Aviation Board,” Jones said.
The state’s share of the cost of the new building is 71 percent with the other 29 percent coming from local sources.
Jones said they are also working on some alternative funding sources.
He said the commission appreciated the support from the Board of Supervisors in the past and hopes for the same support from the new board members.
Supervisor John Brewer and Board Chairman David Sexton both commented that they didn’t think Grayson County received its share of benefits from the airport.
Jones responded that Grayson County was a partner in the new Wildwood Park which should produce positive results for the county.
“We feel the airport is the No. 1 economic tool to draw new industries and businesses to our area,” Jones said.
Supervisor Kenneth Belton spoke in support of the airport. “I know that CEO’s of companies don’t drive, they fly.”
Mike Maynard made the motion to adopt a resolution supporting the terminal and improvement program as presented earlier. Supervisors voted unanimously to support the plan.