Officials broke ground on the Chilton County Regional Airport this week.
Tuesday marked the big day for the $2.6 million expansion and renovation project.
"The project will allow the airport to serve more corporate clients and transform the Clanton community where the airport is located," according to officials.
"Very few improvements have been made to the airport in the last 25 years and it has been viewed by the community as only serving recreational flyers," said Airport Authority Member Billy Singleton. "We want to let people know this expansion will change that. Once the renovation and expansion is complete, the airport will not only support critical services for residents of Chilton County, but will be a resource for surrounding businesses, helping them grow, expand and bring more jobs to the area, therefore transforming our community."
The $2.6 million price tag for the project consists of combined grants. The work includes resurfacing the airport's runway, replacing runway lighting, providing new markings, installing new lighting for night operations and purchasing more land surrounding the airport to improve arrivals and departures for commercial aircraft.
"The Federal Aviation Administration's airport improvement program provided 90% of the funds, while 5% came from the Alabama Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Bureau and 5 percent from Chilton County," according to a news release from the Birmingham Business Alliance.
"Singleton said the renovation and expansion will open the door for new clients, many of which have already expressed interest. He said the Chilton County Airport's strategic location in the center of the state - between Birmingham and Montgomery - can also be accessed easily by state government. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the state's coordinating agency for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, is located just 3 miles away. Singleton said seeing the potential for the airport was a cumulative vision of the Chilton County Commission, the City of Clanton and the airport authority. The two governments worked closely with the airport to ensure the maximum benefits would be realized by this expansion for citizens in the city, county and state. The airport authority also is working closely with Fred Crawford of the Chilton County Industrial Development Board and Mark Brown of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) to help make the airport's expansion impactful on the community and the Birmingham seven-county region."
"Airport development is such an important part of the total economic development program for Chilton County," said Crawford. "Industry representatives for those national and regional accounts that we have working in Chilton County can fly into the county and have meetings and then go to the next site all in one day. New and expanding industries that have new or multiple sites can now fly in and inspect our industrial parks, arts and education and hopefully agree to make central Alabama home. Just as our five exits along Interstate 65 are important to auto and truck transportation and economic development, so is this airport important to transportation."
"These are the types of projects that require teamwork and vision at every level, which can transform a community," said McCallum. "This asset in the Clanton and Chilton County area will help existing businesses grow and attract new industry that could serve customers throughout the state and Southeast through one central location."
The Birmingham Business Alliance is a dynamic advocate, unifying voice and constant catalyst for economic development and business prosperity for the Birmingham region. For more information about the BBA visit its website at www.birminghambusinessalliance.com.
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