Airport officials hope fence keeps deer, coyote out

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2010

The South Alabama Regional Airport Authority (SARA) is using grant monies it received this year to construct perimeter fencing, co-manager Jed Blackwell said.

“The biggest problems we have right now are deer and coyote,” Blackwell said. “This should fix that.”

Blackwell and SARA board member Mike Holloway provided their quarterly update on airport operations to the Andalusia City Council Tuesday night.

Holloway said the SARA has sold more than 390,000 gallons of jet fuel in the current calendar year. Proceeds from jet fuel sales help fund airport operations and help with matching funds for government grants, he said.

Holloway said the airport makes about 85 cents per gallon of jet fuel sold to the military and the general public. Through May 2010, SARA had sold 365,136 gallons to the military and 30,407 gallons to the general public.

Blackwell said employment in the airport industrial park is 509 employees. Those businesses include Vector Aerospace (95), Yoder Brake (9), Sitel (360), Evans machine and Gear (8), FMI (13), Enterprise-Ozark Community College (1), Covington County Economic Development Commission (2) and SARA (21).

He said the CCEDC is working to market the hangars formerly occupied by EJM as well as a building built near Sitel by the Shanklin family. The county has received a $297,000 grant from the Alabama Industrial Access Road and Bridge Corp. for the construction of an access road to the building, which will make it more marketable. The SARA will pay the $44,000 engineering costs for the new road, Blackwell said, adding that construction should begin in August.

Mayor Earl Johnson confirmed that several “very good prospects” have looked at the former EJM facility and said “we are very close to having a deal.”

The hangars are designed as maintenance facilities for large aircraft.