Letter to the Editor
As a former resident and graduate of ECHS (class of 1966), I want to call to the attention of all Atmore citizens the current happenings at the local airport. For the past several years as I have visited my mom and sister in Atmore I have frequently ridden past the airport. It always saddened me to see the gradual deterioration of the facilities there and especially to see the unrepaired Hurricane Ivan damage. However, during a June trip to Atmore, Joe Brantley of Brantley's Tires, knowing I am a pilot, told me I should go take a look at the airport as new construction was evident. I did just as he had suggested and happened to find an old friend there, lifelong Atmore resident, pilot and A&P mechanic Mickey Parker. I learned from Mickey that he has just been hired as the new airport manager. He also gave me a tour of the new maintenance/transient hangar and the new T-hangars. What a boost to my morale, but more importantly, what a boost for Atmore! I predict Mickey will turn out to be an excellent choice for the job and will provide the type of leadership and management your airport deserves.
I commend those in positions of leadership at the local level (especially Mayor Shell) and those at the state level who have recently sought and obtained some sizeable federal grants for airport improvements. It has been my experience, both as a private pilot and as an aviation enthusiast, that towns and cities with vibrant, busy airports are generally progressive, business-oriented and have local government leaders who possess vision. On the contrary, stepping out of an airplane at a small town airport where the airport was virtually dead generally mirrored what I would find in the town itself. Today's corporate decision-makers (CEO's, CFO's, VP's, etc.) travel frequently to conduct business or survey prospective plant sites and most often do so via general aviation aircraft, not by commercial carrier. That's where your local airport plays a major role in attracting and keeping businesses and manufacturing plants.
I urge all Atmore citizens to express their support for the local airport and for the current efforts being made to revitalize this strategic asset. Tell your city council representative and mayor, as well as your state and federal representatives, how much you appreciate their efforts. The benefits from the changes at the airport will positively affect not just Atmore but the surrounding areas.
G. Allen Morris