Atmore airport to rebuild

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Atmore was tapped to receive more than $762,576 for airport repairs this week.
The municipal airport suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Ivan, a major setback to planned improvements that were underway at the airport.
Ivan destroyed three small hangars and a private plane that was parked inside. The airport terminal, office and pilot lounge building also suffered extensive damage in the hurricane. A fourth, larger hanger also suffered extensive damage.
"We had three small hangers that were flattened," said Mayor Howard Shell. The airport is owned and operated by the city. "Whether the terminal needs to be rebuilt or repaired, we don't know yet."
Shell said insurance agents were "still working on the numbers," of a dollar amount of damage to the airport.
The money was part of a special funding bill for a number of airports damaged by the hurricane around the state, set aside by federal authorities. Atmore received the largest share of the funding allotted for airport repairs.
For several years, the airport has figured as a part of the city's improvement efforts in its industrial recruitment. It has also been a difficult problem for the city to tackle.
The cemetery and statue of Jesus at one end of the runway was a sore spot for the FAA. Power lines at the other end of the runway make expansion difficult.
At present, the airport is not large enough to handle corporate jets, but incremental improvements have been made or were planned for the airport.
In August, the city opened bids for cleaning and patching cracks in the runway, resurfacing and repainting the runway, relocating some of the airport lights and replacing the airport's windsock with a lighted windsock.
The repair work will receive 95 percent of its funding from a FAA grant and the remaining 5 percent will come from the Alabama Department of Transportation's aeronautics bureau.
Luckily, Shell said, the work had not started before Ivan struck. Shell said Volkert is assessing the damage to see if more runway work will be necessary.
In May 2003, the city received $150,000.00, to fund the acquisition of additional land adjacent to the runway for the purpose of providing a standard safety area and runway protection zone.
Shell said that acquisition work is still under negotiation.

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