Airport reopens after repairs

Published 2:58 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
After being closed for repairs since the first week of December the Atmore Municipal Airport is once again open for business.
"We've just done a complete overhaul on the runway," Mayor Howard Shell said.
According to Robert Earl Godwin, manager of the airport, many of the repairs were made necessary by Hurricane Ivan, but the threshold, the point on a runway that marks the beginning of the landable area of the runway, was also moved to meet federal regulation.
"We've had a seal coat put on the runway and new striping and the threshold has been displaced 200 feet," Godwin said.
Though the airport is now open the repair project is far from over.
"Things are still a mess, we have a long way to go thanks to Ivan and there are no quick fixes," Godwin said. "We completely lost a hanger; it blew away across the fence and across the road."
Godwin said doors are missing from another hanger and the office is still boarded up.
"We're going to have to rebuild hangers and things but that's for another time," Shell said.
Shell said there was a push to open the airport due to the economic impact it had on Atmore.
"We have planes all the way up to corporate jets that are in and out almost every day," Shell said.
According to Godwin, Swift lumber company, fast food establishments and roofing companies are just a few of the industries that rely on the airport to keep their businesses running.
"The businesses in this town could not survive without this airport," Godwin said.
Mayor shell describes the airport as, "a very important tool, especially in commercial and industrial development."
Godwin has been involved with the Atmore Airport since January of 1967. According to him all of the smaller municipal airports were built so that no area of the state was hard to access and funds for the building of those airports came primarily from flyers. "
The airport is paid for by the people that fly," Godwin said. "The money comes from a premium of fuel tax when the airport was built and upkeep costs nothing to the average citizen."
For now Godwin plans to handle the work at the airport, as funds become available; one repair at a time until the work is complete.
"We'll be going ahead, but I guess it's just a slow process," Godwin said. "I'm just waiting with everyone else."

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