Apr. 26 -- Members of the Hancock County Airport Board spent about 10 years looking for land and funding to build an airport in their county. U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis helped them secure funding from the Federal Aviation Administration last year.
Earlier this week, board members found out they would be getting a bonus from the state -- money to build an airport terminal.
"We were pleasantly surprised," said Donn Wimmer, airport board chairman. "It's a great addition to our airport. It's going to be a great addition to the county."
The terminal will cost between $600,000 and $700,000, and the airport board soon will begin seeking bids on the project, Wimmer said.
The state is funding the terminal, Wimmer said. Ninety-five percent of the funding for the airport is from the FAA, and the other 5 percent is divided between the state and local governments.
The terminal will be about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet and include office and meeting space, restrooms and other amenities, Hancock County Judge-Executive Jack McCaslin said.
Jim Fallin, a member of the airport board and the executive director of the Hancock County Industrial Foundation, said it will be wonderful when members of corporations can land in Hancock County.
"This is going to be the first impression that a new industry will have of our community," he said.
The state is building about 10 new terminals, said Paul Steely, commissioner of the department of aviation.
This is in addition to about $27 million that the FAA, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and local governments have put into airport projects, according to a March 2007 transportation department press release.
Airports are a magnet for growth, Steely said Wednesday. The state is putting together a finance package to pay off the costs for the terminals over the next 10 years, he said.
The Hancock County airport will include a 4,000-foot-long, 75-foot-wide runway, along with a taxiway and an apron for aircraft to park on.
The project also will include an airport access road, airfield lighting and fence material for the field. It is on about 150 acres on Lee Henderson Road in Lewisport.
"We know it's an important tool for recruiting industry," McCaslin said.
The airport should be completed late this year or early next year depending on how weather affects construction, Wimmer said.
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