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New airport terminal design approved

Special Illustration: This design of the new terminal building at Covington Municipal Airport was done by LPA Group out of Norcross.

Special Illustration: This design of the new terminal building at Covington Municipal Airport was done by LPA Group out of Norcross.

COVINGTON -- The City Council has selected the design for the new Covington Municipal Airport terminal building, and construction could begin this summer.

The 5,500-square-foot building will cost an estimated $1.5 million to build. The city has applied for a $500,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs; another $500,000 will come from SPLOST 2011; and the final third will come from the city's general fund, said Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello. However, if a 1 percent transportation SPLOST is approved in July, the city could use funds from that to pay for the remaining portion and eliminate the need to dip into the general fund.

The terminal building will include a conference and meeting room with a capacity for up to 40; a smaller conference and board room; a full kitchen; a waiting area for passengers; pilot's lounge; and offices for city and airport staff.

A proposal to include accommodations for pilots to stay overnight and a restaurant was eliminated by a committee tasked with overseeing the design process.

"We formed a committee and they shut that down. They thought the city should not use taxpayer money for that, that it should be private enterprise," Passariello said.

Construction of the terminal will take about a year. The terminal will be located at the Nisshinbo Drive and Ga. Highway 142 intersection.

In other news, an affordable housing development for seniors is planned for Walkers Bend. Affordable Equity Partners, the same company that built the Harristown Park senior living facility downtown, plans to construct a facility with up to 60 units for seniors age 55 and older, according to Covington Senior Planner Randy Vinson. The $9 million facility will be called The Overlook at Walkers Bend and will be located at the Walkers Bend Parkway and Avery Street intersection.

Affordable Equity is applying to the Department of Community Affairs for tax credits to assist with financing the project. The City Council approved a resolution pledging its support for Affordable Equity to provide in its application.

If the tax credits are approved, construction could begin on the project in spring or summer of 2013.