Airport receives hurricane aid

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

The Mac Crenshaw Airport has big plans for the future. As the city of Greenville grows the airport plans to grow with it adding new hangars for industrial air traffic. Fortunately, the airport has support in high places.

That support continued to come in as the airport got a $8,300 boost to help recover from problems associated with Hurricane Ivan.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a key negotiator on the Emergency Supplemental appropriations package and Chairman of the Transportation Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, announced recently that $1,517,628 will be available from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration. These funds will be distributed to a number of Alabama airports to cover costs associated with the repair or replacement of terminal buildings, hangars and security lighting as a result of Hurricane Ivan and related events.

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&uot;I am pleased these funds have been announced for damaged Alabama airports,&uot; Shelby said. &uot;This announcement will allow for much needed improvements to the airports and will bring these facilities back to their pre-hurricane operational levels. Some Alabama airports suffered tremendous hurricane damage and these funds are critical to assist with their ongoing repair efforts.&uot;

The Mac Crenshaw Airport was awarded a grant of $8,300 to help with damage levied by Hurricane Ivan.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said he was thrilled at the news of another airport grant.’

&uot;We are really excited about that,&uot; McLendon said. &uot;It is just another way to improve our airport and to show the industries the importance of having a personalized airport. It is a great grant and we are excited about it and look forward to another airport project.&uot;

Airport Manager Travis Couch said the airport had some lingering effects from the storm and the grant would be of great assistance.

&uot;We got some water damage to some of the buildings,&uot; Couch said. &uot;We had some damage in other areas and two aircraft with minor damage out here. The rotating beacon also doesn’t rotate and that is what this latest grant is for.&uot;

The grant is not the first aid given to the airport from Shelby. Mayor Dexter McLendon, Couch and Shelby have worked together for the last few years to see the airport was up to par.

It all began when Shelby made a trip to the Camellia City for a casual visit. The mayor asked Shelby if he had time to look at the airport, which got the wheels in motion.

&uot;Basically, what happened is the Senator came out and looked at the airport,&uot; Couch said. &uot;He asked what we needed and the first thing I said was a longer runway.&uot;

Couch said he had no idea the visit would pay such dividends.

&uot;I didn’t think any more about it and neither did the mayor,&uot; Couch said. &uot;Then about six months later Wayne Adkins called him from Mississippi. He told the mayor he might be in line for a grant. That grant was for about $2.4 million.&uot;

Couch said the simple beginning to the process has continued to show its merit with the recent grant.

&uot;It all started with a town hall meeting so to speak,&uot; Couch said. &uot;The Senator had some extra time and the mayor asked him if he would mind riding out and looking at the airport.&uot;

Other recipients of grant money were:

n Atmore Municipal Airport $762,576

n Jack Edwards Airport (Gulf Shores) $535,000

nMobile Regional Airport $122,000

n Dothan Regional Airport $32,000

n Brewton Municipal Airport $17,500

n Andalusia-Opp Airport $10,000

n Craig Field (Selma) $9,479

n Merkel Field (Sylacauga) $8,000

n Auburn Opelika Airport $4,273

n Blackwell Field (Ozark) $1,000