• 32°
franklin county times

Plan to expand Newton airport falls through

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
March 18, 2001
NEWTON A plan to extend the runway at the James Easom Field airport here has fallen through for lack of money. Now city officials plan to make other improvements they can afford.
Newton aldermen decided last summer to apply for federal funding in increments. Newton Mayor Hamp Beatty said at the time they hoped to receive around $350,000 in the next three years.
City leaders wanted to add between 500 feet and 700 feet to the existing 3,000-foot runway. They also wanted to build a new access road into the airport from Poplar Springs Road first and then put up a security fence.
He said the airport will still get the $350,000, but that is not be enough to do the runway and all the smaller projects. Beatty said last year the runway extension would allow larger aircraft to use the airport, a plus for the city's industrial recruitment efforts.
Muse said the Federal Aviation Administration is working on some possible revisions and will be sending him drawings.
Scheduled improvements now to be done all at once rather than in increments include overlaying the existing runway, clearing obstructions (such as trees) out of flight easements, parking area improvements and installing a security fence. Muse said the access road won't be built but isn't needed.
The projects are expected to begin in the fall and should be complete within two years, Muse said.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.