June 12--The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Muhlenberg County Airport $1.55 million for completing a parallel taxiway, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield.
Danny Walker, chairman of the airport board, said completing the taxiway "will really help on safety. It's really a hazard now."
Planes now have to "back-taxi" on the runway -- go down the runway facing incoming traffic and then turn around to take off.
Walker, a pilot, said he's encountered planes coming toward him on the runway when he was trying to land in the past.
"We're opening bids on the project on June 25," he said. "We would like to start this fall on the dirt work and hopefully, begin paving next spring or summer."
The airport got a $1.3 million grant in 2008 to allow it to build a 3,000-foot partial taxiway beside the 5,000-foot runway.
But it's waited six years to get enough money to complete the project.
Walker said the airport board is also hoping for a state grant to allow it to pave an area around the new terminal to park planes.
About 18 planes are stationed at the airport in Greenville, he said.
"But we get a surprising number of corporate jets coming in," Walker said. "And we had an air show this weekend with five planes flying people around. That was a lot of landings and takeoffs without a parallel runway."
Whitfield said in a news release that the funds should "provide the opportunity for growth and development within this community."
Last year, the airport was awarded $167,000 in state and federal grants to design the parallel taxiway and the apron expansion.
Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org
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