Greenville officials show off newly-renovated airportPublished 1:25pm Friday, September 13, 2013
A person only gets one chance to make a first impression.
The same can be said for a city.
That truth has been a driving force behind the City of Greenville’s efforts to improve the Mac Crenshaw Memorial Airport.
“When a CEO of a business looking to possibly locate in Greenville flies into town, the first thing they see is this airport,” Mayor Dexter McLendon said while speaking at an open house held at the Mac Crenshaw Memorial Airport Thursday night. “This is their first impression of Greenville.”
Since 2000, with the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program, the city has spent approximately $10 million to improve its airport, according to McLendon.
The latest round of improvements, which cost just less than $90,000, upgraded the airport’s terminal.
The renovations included a new roof, a new heating and cooling unit, upgrades to the building’s electrical and plumbing systems, new paint, paneling and flooring, an expanded break room, a ramp that meets the Americans with Disabilities requirements, and landscaping around the terminal.
Airport manager Travis Capps said the building, which was constructed in 1978 and opened in 1979 had become dated during its more than two decades of service. He felt it was necessary to update the building to give those flying into the airport a proper view of the Camellia City.
“When business people fly into the airport and step off the aircraft, this is their first look at Greenville,” Capps said. “We only get one chance to make a first impression.”
In recent years, the city has used FAA Airport Improvement Program grants to extend the runway to 5,500 feet, upgrade the lights along the runway and construct a taxiway that extends the length of the runway.
Charlie Jones, who while serving on the city council in the 1960s pushed for the creation of an airport in the Camellia City, was impressed with what he saw on Thursday night.
“When we opened the airport all it was a dirt strip,” Jones said. “The city has done well with it.”
McLendon said more improvements are on the way.
In June, the city applied for a grant that would help fund hangar improvements and taxilane development.
The hangar improvements would increase the facility’s capacity, while also providing patrons with increased hangar options, such as a T-hangar and corporate hangar.
“We plan to continue to make improvements out here,” McLendon said. “It’s important that we do. I don’t want anyone to think this airport isn’t important, because it is. It’s extremely important when it comes to creating jobs. All of these improvements are about jobs. The airport is vital to getting businesses to locate here.”
McLendon said the city is in the process of creating a 10-year plan that outlines future improvements to the airport.