SARA projects total $2.1M

Published 2:39 am Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The South Alabama Regional Airport Authority hopes to complete some $2 million in airport improvements in the next five years.

SARA Executive Director Jed Blackwell presented the plan at a recent airport authority meeting.

The plan calls for the airport to skip capital improvement projects in 2018 and combine two years’ of revenue to put up new signage on the runway and runway lights.

Blackwell said the current lights were erected in November 1962 and are very old.

“It costs lots of money to repair them,” he said. “They get struck by lightning, and we will replace with LED lighting.”

The cost for that project is estimated at $555,000.

They hope to get $500,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration; $27,000 from ALDOT and match $27,000 locally.

In 2020, they plan to seal coat the helipad.

Blackwell said there is question about whether the FAA will pay for this project because they often consider the heliport a revenue producer.

That project is expected to cost around $500,000.

Regardless, the airport will have to figure out a way to fix the that portion because when larger helicopters such as Ospreys land, they blow chunks of the pad everywhere.

The helipad is the old runway that was built in the 1940s.

In 2021, a new taxiway and runway is on the books, and expected to cost $150,000.

And in 2022, an RSA drainage improvement project, estimated at $840,000, is in the plan.

That project will require $42,000 in local matching funds from SARA.

Overall, SARA expects to get $1.9 million from the FAA, $103,000 from ALDOT and contribute $103,000 in local money to these projects.