Jun. 1—Gainesville's Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport is one of four aviation facilities in Georgia receiving a portion of $12 million in federal grant funds for improved infrastructure.
The funding for certain Georgia airports, approved by Congress in a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021, was secured by Sens. Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff to address aviation infrastructure needs such as drainage, erosion control and runway repairs.
Lee Gilmer will claim a total of $1.4 million, distributed in $295,000 increments over a 5-year span. Some of that money already has been tapped by city officials for runway repaving projects, according to Airport Manager Lisa Poole, and a portion of the federal funds will likely go toward the future repaving of the airport's parallel taxiway, estimated to cost around $3.5 million,
Bids for work on that project are expected to go out this week, she said.
Poole said also that any remaining portion of the funding potentially could be spent on upgraded LED lighting at the airport's taxiway.
"We're always pursuing grant funding for our projects, so to have additional (money) is a great asset," Poole said.
While it's unclear why Gainesville was selected as one of four airports to receive the federal grant, Poole said Lee Gilmer is ranked fifth of 104 general aviation airports in the state for fixed-based aircraft. This enables the airport to receive the "maximum amount" of federal dollars, she said.
"We apply (for funding) every year," said Poole. "The ranking does play a role in the scoring of getting those projects awarded. We're definitely (in) a good place to position ourselves to get awarded those projects."
Airports in Savannah, Canton and Thomasville also were named as potential recipients of a portion of the $12 million.
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