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Work to begin soon on Lanett Airport terminal

LANETT – Once the rainy weather clears and the ground dries out, there will be a lot of work going on at the Lanett Municipal Airport. The final paving will be taking place to lengthen the runway from 3,365 feet to 4,100 feet. A second expansion will follow that in March. That project is still in the design phase, something that is on schedule to wrap up in February.

“The runway will be over 5,400 feet long when the entire project is completed sometime in July or August,” City of Lanett Planning and Public Services Director Tony Chandler told The Valley Times-News. “We will be able to land large corporate jets here when the airport reopens later on this year.”

A new terminal will likely be finished by that time. In their first meeting of the new year on Monday, January 6th, the Lanett City Council awarded a contract to low bidder River City Contracting to build the 5,400-square-foot terminal. A floor plan for the new building shows a large reception area just inside the main entrance, five office areas including one for the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA), a conference room, a break room, a pilot’s lounge and a flight planning room.

“The next paving we’ll do will finish out the first grant we got,” Chandler said. “That will be followed up by the second runway extension. That will be funded by the $8.1 million grant that’s been approved.”

The runway passes over some culverts in both grants. “The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has approved everything that will be done this year,” Chandler said. “We just need good weather to build the new terminal and finish the runway. It should take four or five months to get everything completed.”

It’s possible the airport, with is much longer runway and a new terminal, could reopen this summer.

“We think we’ll be ready for the airport to reopen in early 2021,” Mayor Kyle McCoy said. “We think it will be a major selling point for the entire local area. That’s the way we are looking at it now. We think it will make Lanett, Valley, West Point and all of Chambers County more desirable places to locate new industry and business. It will be a major selling point for us to have an economic development office in the new terminal. The Alabama Development Office is in agreement with us on this. Having the CCDA there will give us a unique one-stop shop. To my knowledge it will be the only place in Alabama where any industrial or commercial prospect can land by jet, go the short distance to the terminal and talk with local economic development professionals. It will give us a much better chance to have control over our destiny. It’s much better than what we do now in driving to Opelika-Auburn or LaGrange, picking up someone and driving them here.”