State delays airport road until runway project begins
By: By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter
From the Tennessee Department of Transportation to the Everett-Stewart Regional Airport board of directors: Work on extending your main runway must begin before we allow construction of a new road linking Highway 22 bypass and the airport.
Such was the message that Obion County commissioner Perry Barfield delivered to the Obion County Commission Tuesday at the Obion County Courthouse. The commission, with all 21 commissioners present, met in regular session.
Barfield, a member of the airport board, addressed the commission.
The board proposes to extend the runway from its present length of 5,000 feet to 6,500 feet. A longer runway would accommodate heavy aircraft generally in use by private industry. In short — no pun intended — a longer runway would enhance local economic development.
Barfield said 66 acres of land is needed to lengthen the runway, and the land sought is privately owned. “We’re hoping to purchase the land this calendar year,” he said. “Then there’ll be a design phase and engineering will have to be done. It won’t be an overnight thing. We have already got one appraisal (of the property). It was done by a state-certified appraiser. But the owner wants another one done. Because of state grant money, we can’t go appraisal shopping. We have to use the same one as before. We’ve requested that he do an update on the one he did a year ago.”
Barfield said the first appraisal placed a value of $2,500 an acre on the land. Extending the runway will cost about $4 million, “and that’s not counting (the cost of) land acquisition.”
“If we wait two or three years, the cost will probably go up,” he said. “We’re expecting the new appraisal in the next 30 to 60 days.”
And how to pay for it? “Federal and state grants have already been promised to us.”
About a separate airport project, Barfield said they are expecting delivery in March of metal partitions to build a new “T-hangar” that will accommodate 12 aircraft. “All but one of the stalls are rented in advance,” he said. “As soon as the (partitions) are delivered, a construction company will start putting them up. We’d like to see them up and (the hangar) functional by April.”
Published in The Messenger 1.25.08