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Lanett approves new access road

LANETT — On Tuesday, the Lanett City Council approved a resolution to seek a $6.7 million federal grant to build a new access road to the Lanett Municipal Airport. The council had previously agreed to contract with Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood of Montgomery to conduct an environmental assessment for a project to build a new road. A possible wetlands mitigation issue is involved. If so, that would have to be addressed before a road-building project could start.

A new road is needed to have direct access to the airport terminal from I-85. Access can be added either from Phillips Road or the road leading to Norbord.

The grant is being sought from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Program. If approved, U.S. DOT would provide $5,367,268 with Lanett having a matching share of $1,341,817.

Mayor Kyle McCoy has been authorized to sign any and all documents needed to secure the grant.

“We have been planning this for some time,” McCoy said. “If we are fortunate enough to get approval, there are some options available on our 20 percent portion. Something like this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a multi-step process. We took the first step when we approved the environmental assessment study earlier this month. What we have done tonight is another building block to where we need to go. We are coming to the completion of the runway expansion. There’s 120 days left to do it. Building the new road will be the next step in our master plan. If approved, this project would open opportunities for development on both sides of the new runway.”

Another step that will need to be taken this year involves cleaning and upgrading an existing fuel storage tank at the airport. There will need to be both conventional fuel for airplanes and jet fuel.

“We will need to be ready to serve the needs of any plane that will be landing,” McCoy said. “We will have some business class jets coming in.”

The city stands to gain revenue from the sale of aviation fuel and the rental of hangar and tie-down spaces.

A new road coming in will open up opportunities to locate aviation-related businesses on both sides of the runway. The city owns over 650 acres at the airport site.

“This airport will be an important economic development tool for all of Chambers County,” McCoy said. “We cannot underestimate what it will mean for our future. The fact that the Chambers County Development Authority located its office there says a lot. It’s exciting to see it coming together. We appreciate the support we have gotten from the Chambers County Commission and from the cities of Valley and LaFayette. They know how important it is to have something like this in the county.”