Lanett to build new airport terminal

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019

LANETT — The City of Lanett has plans to build a new terminal at the Lanett Municipal Airport. The new terminal will be approximately 5,000 square feet in size and will house a new office for the Chambers County Development Authority. The city, CCDA and state will share in the construction costs.

On Monday, the Lanett City Council unanimously approved a site grading and paving bid for the new terminal. At $366,232, Chris Clark Grading & Paving was the low bidder for the project.

“We are trying to time it where we can start on construction of the new terminal when Chris is finished with his part of the project,” Mayor Kyle McCoy said.

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That should be in approximately 90 days. Construction bids on the new terminal could be taken within the next 30-60 days and awarded in 90 days.

An $8.1 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant that was approved for the city will expand the airport’s runway to approximately 5,400 feet, making it one of the longest in east Alabama. An ongoing project is lengthening the runway from 3,100 to 4,400 feet.

In another unanimous vote on Monday, the council approved a 10-year abatement for WestRock, retroactive to 2017. The abatement was initially approved two years ago, at which time WestRock estimated that new equipment being installed at its local production facility would be in the $7 million range. More equipment went in than was originally expected, running the total cost to around $19 million. The amended abatement will reflect that figure instead of $7 million.

“All indications are that WestRock will be in our community for a long time,” said Kimberly Carter of the CCDA. “There’s more than 300 people in their current workforce, and they pay very good wages. “

Chris Busby of the CCDA gave the council an update on the cleanup going on at the Lanett Mill site.

“Anyone who’s been driving by in a car can tell they’ve done a fantastic job thus far,” Busby said, commending the city work crews who have been working the site. “Lots of debris has been moved away and some grass has been planted. The water tank will remain on the site, and we are looking at refurbishing it. We have a lot to deal with in the cleanup, and we want to thank the city crews in particular with what’s been done so far. There’s an amazing difference from what it looked like a few weeks ago.”

Busby said that recent environmental assessments found no concerns with possible asbestos contamination on the site.

“I want to thank our employees, especially Jason Abernathy,” McCoy said. “I think he has been operating a trackhoe eight hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “We are fortunate to have employees who are so talented.”

“A lot of people have told me they are seeing a difference in the mill site, and that’s good,” Council Member Charles Looser said.

“I know it’s been hot out there,” said Council Member Angelia Thomas. “We want our employees to know we appreciate what they are doing.”

Planning and Development Director Tony Chandler reported on Phase III of the streetscape project, which is winding down.

“It’s almost complete,” he said. “The lamp posts are up. They just need to have the electrical connections to be lighted up at night.”

A new brick-colored crosswalk will be going in near the junction of North 7th Street and North Lanier Avenue near Langley Motor Company. City officials were pleased with the way the wast side of North Lanier handled drainage in some recent heavy rain. An estimated $150,000 of the Phase II grant went underground in the form of eight-inch to 30-inch pipes that now direct the storm water runoff to Tanyard Creek. This appears to be working well on the west side of North Lanier.

If approved, Phase IV would allow for these improvements on the east side of the street. That should make a huge difference as well.

Chandler said he was hoping the downtown fountain would be finished by July 4. The pool will be some 30 feet across and 18 inches deep. It will have an impressive jet spray and will be lighted at night.

In other action, the council appointed Steve Arndt as a new member of the city’s board of adjustments.