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City seeking grant for new terminal

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

COVINGTON -- The city will apply for a $500,000 grant to help fund construction of a new terminal building at Covington Municipal Airport.

The council authorized Grant Writer Randy Conner to apply for a grant from the AIR Georgia Program, which provides grants, loans and other financial assistance to projects that promote economic development and enhancement of publicly-owned airports in rural areas. The program is under the auspices of the OneGeorgia Authority.

The estimated cost of the new terminal is around $1.5 million. The city has budgeted $500,000 and has allocated another $500,000 in SPLOST revenues for the terminal.

The terminal will be accessed via Nisshinbo Drive off Ga. Highway 142, putting the entrance and exit closer to the expressway. It will include overnight accommodations for pilots and travelers.

"The proximity to the industrial park is what's so key," said Mayor Kim Carter, adding that both the Industrial Development Authority and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties have issued resolutions stating their support of the project.

Plans for what will be done with the existing terminal building have not been finalized, but possibilities include using it as storage space and as a flight school and training area, said City Manager Steve Horton.

The council also agreed to let the city's lawyers proceed with acquisition of three abandoned planes at the airport. The airplanes have been sitting there for some time, with no rent paid for tie-downs, according to City Attorney Frank Turner Jr. One of the owners was located, a private investigator was unable to track down another and the third is still being sought.