published Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

$500,000 grant to fund new terminal in LaFayette


by Andy Johns
Barwick-LaFayette Airport manager Phil Shelton talks about plans he has seen concerning a new terminal at the field. The airport recently received a $500,000 grant to rebuild the main terminal.
Barwick-LaFayette Airport manager Phil Shelton talks about plans he has seen concerning a new terminal at the field. The airport recently received a $500,000 grant to rebuild the main terminal.
Photo by Tim Barber.
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LAFAYETTE, Ga. — Leaders in LaFayette say a new terminal at the Barwick-LaFayette Airport will “enhance our prospects” for industrial growth.

On Monday, Georgia officials announced a $500,000 grant from the One Georgia program that will be used to build a new terminal and tear down the terminal the airport has been using for 25 years.

“It’ll just be a much nicer facility,” said Phil Shelton, airport manager. “It’ll make us much more attractive to [industries].”

Recently, the airport has been used by visiting representatives of companies looking at industrial property in Rock Spring and another group looking at the vacant building that used to house the Blue Bird bus-making company, Shelton said.

But when a corporate scouting group comes in, the pilots have only a chair in which to sit in the old terminal while their passengers attend meetings. Every time it rains, the staff finds new leaks in the roof.

“It’s really dated,” said city Councilman Eric Tallent, who is on the council’s airport committee.

The new 2,600-square-foot terminal will include a rest area for pilots and room for new automated equipment, he said.

Tallent said the total project is expected to cost $700,000, and the city will pick up the rest of the tab. Much of the $200,000 gap after the grant probably will be covered by work from city crews, so the city could be on the hook for as little as $20,000, he said.

“It’s a real help for industry in our area,” said Tallent, who pointed out the airport’s close proximity to the industrial park.

The current terminal will remain open as the new building is built, but it will be demolished once the new one comes online.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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jameslcole1979 said...

“It’ll just be a much nicer facility,” said Phil Shelton, airport manager. “It’ll make us much more attractive to [industries].”

Until they see the conditions of local roads and infrastructure, at which point they will go anywhere but here. Main roads in LaFayette are in need of repairs, side roads are in need of complete replacement. No amount of cosmetic fixes would entice new businesses to this area without some drastic changes in politics and improvements to local conditions for prospective businesses. The new magic million dollar ball fields are supposed to bring in 15,000 from hypothetical tournaments according to a councilman who was instrumental in ramming approval for the fields through. Yet again, the conditions of local roads are a major deterrent from any such pipe dream. When is the truth of this mess really going to come out. How much longer are we going to subsidize the hobbies and interests of the people who are supposed to be representing us?

July 2, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.
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