BAY MINETTE, Alabama -- Bay Minette has secured a federal grant to build a parallel runway at the municipal airport. The Federal Aviation Association grant that exceeds $2 million is a "wise use of federal tax dollars," said Mayor Jamie Tillery.
The new taxiway will help "promote the safety and growth of the airport," Tillery said, while adding to its appeal as a commercial destination for industry.
The grant includes a 5 percent local match and the city will apply for a state grant that could cover 50 percent of that amount, said Bobby Odom with Volkert & Associates, which served as the grant administrator.
"That’s about as close to free as you can get," he told the City Council at a recent meeting.
Pat Ryan, Chairman of the Airport Authority Board, praised the airport’s leadership and Bay Minette Aviation, which serves as the Fixed Based Operator. He said the expansion will lead to continued improvements and usage.
"This is a project we have looked forward to for some time, we have worked pretty religiously over the years to make this happen," Ryan said. "It’s good to see it get to this point."
Ryan said the parallel taxiway would be a "service road" that allows aircraft to turn off the main runway and access the terminal. That will free up the runway for additional traffic, he said.
Ryan said the grant covers the construction of half the length of the runway, plus the design of the second phase, which will take the parallel road the full length of the runway. He said the city will apply for additional grant money to complete that portion of the project next year.
Construction should started in September and will take about six months to complete, Ryan said.
To build the runway, the city will use fill dirt available on property adjacent to the airport, thus clearing the space for future use. Ryan said that long-range plans could include private hangars for commercial or private use.
"We’d like to build corporate hangers; a couple of them actually," Ryan said. "Whatever comes to the megasite will certainly need this airport. TK will benefit from it someday."