Our View: Grant provides hope for economic development

Published 12:57 pm Thursday, May 16, 2019

An announcement this week by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby that the city of Lanett will receive an $8.1 million grant for a continuing airport project is excellent news not just for Lanett but also for the Greater Valley Area and Chambers County.

This will add an extra 1,000 feet to the runway, making it 5,400 feet in length. An expansion that’s currently underway will be lengthening a 3,100-foot runway to 4,400 feet. An extra 1,000 feet to that puts it past the one-mile mark.

When it comes to community growth and development, it’s a big deal to be able to tell potential prospects that you have an airport with a runway that’s more than a mile in length. That’s long enough to land private jets.

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The announcement also underscores the importance of having seniority in Washington. It’s good to have one of the most influential people in the nation’s capital representing our state and to get important things done for local communities.

A first-class airport is a key to our community’s future development. We are definitely moving in the right direction on this. City officials, the Chambers County Development Authority and Gov. Kay Ivey deserve much credit for getting us to this point.

In addition to a longer runway, the airport will need better access from I-85 off Phillips Road. That will likely mean building a new road. It would be good, too, to have a new terminal and more hangar space.

Understandably, Mayor Kyle McCoy is well pleased with this next step in the process.“It will have a tremendous impact on the growth of our city and the surrounding area,” he said.

A bigger, better airport is also great news for the city of Valley.

Just across the interstate from the airport, there are 1,200 acres of city-owned land ready for development.

Having a nearby airport capable of landing corporate jets will help get this done.

Lanett’s airport project and Valley’s land purchases near I-85 are prime examples of two cities working together for the common good of the entire Greater Valley Area.

It hasn’t always been that way. What we are seeing now is a significant improvement over the way things have been in the past.

We are excited about the future of the region and hope any improvements to the Lanett Airport will spur economic development to benefit us all.