Spartanburg downtown airport plans include $14 million in improvements
Spartanburg City Council will listen to a presentation on improvements for the Downtown Memorial Airport during its meeting Monday. Plans for the airport include extending the runway and improving the safety area. The upgrades are estimated to cost $14 million, but 95 percent of those costs will be financed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
By Lynne P. Shackleford firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 4:17 p.m.
The Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport is poised for growth with plans for a runway extension and improved safety area.
Darwin Simpson, airport director, will give Spartanburg City Council a presentation on the improvements during its meeting Monday.
According to the council agenda packet, the improvements are estimated to cost $14 million — about 95 percent of those costs are financed by the Federal Aviation Administration, 5 percent is financed by the S.C. Aeronautics Commission and the city would be responsible for a local match of $700,000.
The airport underwent a transformation in 2011 with $4.4 million in renovations to the terminal building and two new T-hangars. The latest improvements, although not as aesthetically pleasing as the terminal building upfit, are even more important to maintaining the airport's long-term viability, Simpson said.
Simpson estimated the airport's economic impact has increased from $10 million to $12 million annually to $25 million, just from the improvements made in 2011. Simpson estimated an economic impact near $50 million after the newest improvements are complete.
“The (planned) mega-infrastructure will go a long way to making this airport a driving force behind economic development in this community,” Simpson said.
The improvements will be made during a two-year period. The runway hasn't been resurfaced in 25 years, and cracks are visible from the surface. Plans are to resurface the 5,202-foot runway and extend it 650 feet to accommodate larger aircraft, Simpson said.
The FAA requires airports to have 1,000 feet in runoff safety area, which the current airport configuration downtown doesn't support. Simpson said 1.3 million cubic feet of dirt will be used to fill in an area off the runway so the new runway safety area will be 1,650 feet.
Mayor Junie White said the improvements are important for current aircraft that use the airport and for the future.
“This is a no-brainer for us, particularly since the federal government is funding the majority of the project,” White said.
City Manager Ed Memmott and Assistant City Manager Chris Story will give council options on how to finance the local match required for the grant.
In other business, council will consider final readings on ordinances to deed property to the Spartanburg Housing Authority. The housing authority owns Cammie Claggett housing complex, but the city is listed as the owner in several county property records.
Council is also expected to approve final reading on an ordinance to create a policy to name city streets in honor of those who have made significant contributions to the community.
Council will also consider awarding bids to replace culverts on Brandywine Lane and on Hillbrook Drive.